FIVE CARD SPREAD
AS PETER AWAITS THE CONSEQUENCES OF A CASE OF MISTAKEN IDENTITY, ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WORLD HIS JILTED GIRLFRIEND BELINDA TAKES CONTROL OF HER DESTINY
Even before Peter had finished telling me he was leaving, another seed had been planted. I woke early the next day surprisingly well rested, and when I looked in the mirror there was hardly a trace of last night’s tears. I showered and dressed, at the last minute deciding on a mist of eau de parfum, and arrived at the station in time for the 7.01.
There was no-one else in the marble foyer of Genedits except for old Eric the cleaner, who ignored my greeting as usual, staring straight ahead as he coaxed the floor polisher into a wood-paneled space under the stairs. I glanced over at the unoccupied reception desk and took the elevator to the fifth floor, making my way through the security doors to my workstation at the entrance to Lab D.
The darkened screen of my computer dimly reflected the glow of equipment in the glass-walled laboratory behind me. I prodded the on button and, as the machine flickered to life, I reached into the back of the top drawer to retrieve my tarot. When I’d first brought them here, Simon at the station next to me had joked about their incongruence in the context of all the computational power and nano-technology around us. I wanted to say that I didn’t see any real difference, that they were also predicated on faith in the future and ideas about its predictability. But I decided to keep them out of sight instead.
I spread the deck across the desk and, after focusing hard on my question, selected five cards, one at a time, and placed each one face down, left, right, bottom, centre and top. I took a deep breath before turning each of them over. The cards could not have been better. Even the inversion of “The Lovers” told of past difficulties now ripe for resolution. Peter, it was clear, hadn’t left to get away from me. He just wanted us to be together somewhere else. He was waiting for me to follow.
When I called Sarah that night and recounted all this, she suggested in a tone that I would have found unbearably condescending had I been in a different mood, that I might just be going through the first stage of grieving. She explained, v-e-r-y slowly and carefully, that denial was a natural response to the distress, and that eventually, once I’d processed what had happened, I would reach a plateau of acceptance and emerge stronger than ever. She told me that Peter had never been good for me, that I was better off without him, and that soon I would see the end of our relationship as a wonderful new beginning.
As our conversation ended, with Sarah mistaking my silence for reluctant agreement, those last three words rang on like the peal of a bell, and I could feel that other seed continuing to take hold, setting roots and unfurling a shoot towards the light, like a wild flower not seen for decades emerging from the rubble of a demolished building.
I opened the laptop and confirmed my booking.