There are very few things a girl can rely on. What with stripper heels making a come back, the price of a Martini getting hiked up faster than the skirts outside Thrupps centre and all the good 1s going gay. But I have a one up. I have Ed.
Carly: “Ed, I’m a mess.”
Ed: “I brought wine.”
Carly: “I’m not drinking.”
Ed: “Yes you are.”
Carly: “It’s over Ed.”
He gives me his famous bear hug and we go sit by the window on the edge of my vintage red couch. It’s our spot. The stars are almost on their way out and I can see the whole of Joburg, sympathizing with my latest tragedy. The way it always does. I take a sip of another vintage red and slowly unravel the end of my relationship and the end of an era. Suddenly the flat I’d once shared with Ed and then Charlie and then... him, is the quietest it’s ever been and I surrendered to it all. I let go of The Plan and accept that right now I have no idea who I am, where I’m going or what I’m all about. For someone who has a worry schedule, plans outfits the night before and has at least 3 to do lists on the go at any time, this is unfamiliar territory.
Ed: “you don’t really have a worry schedule do you?”
Carly: “I do, it’s typed up on excel on my desktop. I allocate a certain amount of time to worry about things everyday so that they don’t sneak into my mind and turn it into a shit storm of anxiety”
Carly: “I know but I feel lighter now Ed. I know I’ve done the right thing. ”
A few days ago I had gone to see my new physio after weeks of walking around like a 70 year old woman, it was time. She looked at my back and immediately said “Hmmm, back and ankles, you know what that means? Financial strain, and somebody holding you back” I smile sadly in agreement and let her fix me, the best she can. Not quite knowing how to fix myself. If only our lives could be mapped out like the stars or like muscles on our bones, so definite so exact.
This was strike 3 of The Plan. I had a Josh Plan that played out until year 3; I had a Garth plan that got to 2 years 8 months until it was taken over by the last plan, 3 years 1 month. 3 rounds of the three year relationship curse. And here I sat, planless. I figured that if things really do come in 3’s and that my karma had handed me a 3rd plate of disappointment to digest then I was well within my rights to buy my third pair of shoes for the year. It’s practically compulsory break up law is it not? Screw law, it was my destiny.
As I walked through Rosebank Mall trying to find a pair of shoes under R500.00 that cured heartache and a wine hangover I walked passed a shop that had a sign outside reading: “Card Reader, by appointment”. I’d stopped reading my star sign years ago and the amethyst stone that I’d bought at this very shop to cure my insomnia was lying without purpose on my windowsill. But seeing that I was a girl without a plan or a pretty pair of pumps, I figured... fuck it, and booked.
I shuffle the deck of cards and pull one after being “reassured” that I was being advised by a man with 20 years of experience in magic. Suddenly I wish I’d done another round in Aldo, maybe my R400 would have been better spent on those half price peep toes yes?
He tells me that my self esteem is functioning at a medium level and that I’m sick and tired of everything. Who isn’t I think. We talk about work and money (the fact that there isn’t much, again... massive surprise) and just before I leave he asks if I want to know about love. I laugh sarcastically and tell him that no, I do not want to know about love. But we have 15 minutes left and I’ve given up my shoe money for this so I reluctantly say yes. He pulls the High Priestess card and reminds me again that I’m a powerful woman... that all the stars in the sky are in my hands. He shows me another card, The King... representing the love that I have had in my life up until now.
“A King is good. But you need a Magician. Someone who will challenge you, someone who is as much of a force as you are.”
Is he hitting on me? I think.
And then he pulls another card that hits a nerve. The card has the number 10 on it and two small children with a rainbow.
“This is a 10 out of 10 for happiness and it’s for you. There’s a marriage and 2 kids if you want it. But you have to want it, you have to choose it. And your King, he isn’t facing this card.”
I smile and hand over my 400 bucks. Maybe this is all bullshit, but maybe he’s got a point.
Later that day I turn to the one source of truth I have – Google. I look up my card, the high priestess and read something that makes me reconsider my judgement of the Magic Man. “It’s not always necessary to act to achieve your goals. Sometimes they can be realised through a stillness that gives desire a chance to flower within the fullness of time”.
And I realised something quite fantastic. I realised that as much as I felt my life was at a standstill and that my path had been dusted away, I was being moved forward in the moments of sadness, in the disaster, in the confusion and the conundrum. There is no plan, only destiny. And the only way to reach it is to be present in my own undiscovered happiness. If the stars really are all in my hands, perhaps its time to let them go and light up a night of stillness that I’ve been uncomfortable to be alone in for as long as I can remember.
And as I go to switch off the light before bed I realise that there are new spaces, new gaps of vastness between those little sparkly bits in my universe. His toothbrush is gone, his side of the bed is empty and I no longer have my spot between his shoulder and his neck where my head used to rest in sanctuary before sleep. There’s a crease where his guitar used to rest on the armchair and a cigarette butt in the ashtray on his bedside table. I want to be swallowed up by duvet and the lingering smell of him on my pillow but I don’t. Instead I allow those spaces to fill up with the idea of possibility. Of lightness and hope and sweet surrender to spontaneity and greatness. And maybe, just maybe... a little magic.