I can’t believe it’s really been so long since I last posted. That’s what getting a new job does to you. Story on jobs to follow shortly when I finish it (tentatively called ‘Search and Destroy’ that one, borrowing from a Stooges song title). Anyway, this is something I did in response to a writing group prompt on Tarot Cards. Not sure what I think of it, but there you go. Been writing so little lately I probably can’t afford to be choosey…
There are people in Stockholm that can trace their families back for thirty generations or more. I don’t know how they do it. I can’t even trace myself back beyond a couple of years. It gets too complicated: there are so many strands, so many different decisions I took that changed who I was, and changed who I am; tiny increments, infinitesimal shifts and mutations. The only thing I’m sure of is that the older I get, and the more I know, the less certain things become. If you look too closely you’ll wish you hadn’t. The truth, any truth, is composed of elementary particles, every one of them a conflicting truth in its own right. Where does it end? It can drive you insane.
Everyone has an answer. Of course they do. In the face of the incomprehensible, what choice do you have? Without meaning we’re fucked. If there’s no meaning to be had, you’d better make some, and fast.
‘Man created God. Marx will tell you that. We just felt the need to personify Fate.’
She was a bit of a self-styled mystic this girl. She had it all figured out.
‘If I hadn’t gone to that party, we would never have met. It’s like it was supposed to happen.’
I don’t have the heart to tell her it’s called cause and effect. We covered it in second year physics. In a closed system it’s possible to predict the outcome of any event. The past is a closed system. Or to put it another way: in hindsight, you can draw any fucking conclusion you want. Like how we were meant to be together. Or how we were both lonely and at the time we thought that was worse than being with someone you have nothing in common with.
‘My psychic predicted I was going to meet someone like you.’
A man, most likely. What were the chances?
According to my palm, according to her, I’m going to live for a long time. But I’ll always be searching for happiness. The tarot cards are even better.
‘The Queen of Cups. There’s a woman in your life who is nurturing, caring and sensitive. A beacon of light.’
I don’t say anything.
‘Someone who can draw out your suffering with her sensitivity.’
She’s positively preening. The cards are telling her what she already knew – how she can heal me and fix me and chase out of my aura all these demons she thinks I have. Except from where I’m sat, opposite her, the card is inverted. I know what that means too – I looked all this shit up after the last time. The queen is an emotional wreck: manipulative, vindictive, fighting a losing battle with her self-esteem. If she convinces me I’m damaged, I’ll never leave her. I’ll listen to everything she says and do everything she says because without her I have no answers and no cure. The cards are telling me what I already know as well: that it all depends on how you look at it. That opposing things can both be true at precisely the same time. Nothing is mutually exclusive. And nothing is ever that simple.
‘I’m working on your star chart.’
Jesus Christ, I’m tied to a defining moment as well now. Is nothing my own?
‘It’ll help you understand yourself better.’
Such a shame I understand myself so well already. I did it the old fashioned way: by fucking up and working out what I needed to put right as I went along. Forget destiny, forget everyone else who was born on the fourth of May 1967 – the hard truth is you need to take responsibility for yourself. If you’re an arsehole, get over it. Or deal with it. Or change it. You’ve got nothing to blame but yourself.
‘Did you know you’re an Earth sign?’
I find it hard to care. And I wonder when I stop returning her calls if she’ll figure it all happened for a reason.
And here’s the song, which didn’t inspire this at all – just the title did. But I like it, so here it is anyway…