"You're in an interesting situation when it comes to your love life. You're in a relationship, but you're not. You're with someone who's your boyfriend, but he's not. Are you following me?"
I stared across the table at the 40-something-year-old woman without answering her question. I studied her appearance to see if anything about her looked off kilter. She had a few gray hairs hidden in her shoulder-length dirty blonde hair. Her eyes were a friendly shade of green, and they were focused intently on mine. Her hands were wrapped around her Starbucks cup as she waited for my reaction. She looked like someone's mom.
"Go ahead," I said, without agreeing or disagreeing with her previous statement.
"He feels like he's not good enough for you, like he'll never be good enough for you. You deserver better and you know that, yet you're still drawn to him."
She may not have looked like a psychic, but she sure did sound like one. She was the third psychic I'd seen that week. And she was also the third one to hit the nail right on the head when it came to my situation with Casey. No, I wasn't on a never-ending quest to find the meaning of life through metaphysics; I was working on a feature story for my internship about the city's underground psychic scene, a culture pressured into hiding due to the fact that the city was in the heart of the Bible Belt.
So we were sitting in the middle of a crowded Starbucks, and any onlooker would have thought we were just a couple of mismatched pals sharing a quick coffee, not psychic and journalist discussing metaphysics.
I tilted my head and raised my eyebrows, gesturing for her to continue.
"This isn't the person you're meant to be with. I want you to picture a pie. One slice is love, another slice is career, another slice is family. A lot of people pick their portions. Maybe 75 percent of their pie is career and the rest is divvied up. But you, you want three pies. You want it all—100 percent love, 100 percent career, and 100 percent family. This person can't give you that. But there's someone out there who can."
I wasn't sure if she'd just called me fat or not, but if she'd used a cake or brownie metaphor, I probably would have paid more attention. I'd never want three pies. Not even on Thanksgiving. Of course I wanted love, family, and a career. Who didn't?
She continued. "Because of this guy you're seeing now, you're closed off to meeting other men. Sure, you might be out there, flirting and making yourself available. But you're not available. You're subconsciously giving off a signal that you're taken."
I thought about that or a moment. How could it be possible for a man to overlook obvious signals like, for example, me saying "Get the fuck off me," or "If you 'accidently' rub up against me one more time on the dance floor I'll break the damn thing off," but they could read subconscious, imaginary signals with perfect ease? Go figure.
I finally spoke up. "So, you said there's someone out there for me that will give me all three pies. Can you tell me more about this someone?"
"I can tell you that he's tall, and he laughs a lot. Other than that, I can't tell you more because the future is always changing. If I tell you where or when you'll meet him, it might alter your future. Just know that this guy you're with now, is not the one."
Well, I didn't need a psychic to tell me that. I knew Casey wasn't the one. I wasn't looking for the one, anyway. I was only 21!
Tall and likes to laugh? Well, that was pretty vague. That could describe a lot of people; namely, me. Is she trying to tell me I'm the one for myself? That I'm going to feed myself three pies? Suddenly I thought about Will. He's tall and loved to laugh. As I was sitting there shooting the shit with a psychic with a penchant for culinary metaphors, Will was planning his brother's and mom's funeral.
"Now, do you have any other questions?"
My stomach growled and I was suddenly craving cakes and brownies and cookies. I had so many questions. But what did I want to know right then?
"Can you tell me how my friend Will is doing?"
She stopped and looked me in the eye for a while. Thinking about Will and what he was going through brought tears to the brim of my eyelids. She could see them, but did she know why they were there? After a short pause, she responded.
"You're wearing something of his, aren't you?"
I was confused. I looked down at my lap to make sure I was still wearing my own jeans. Then something shiny caught my eye. Will's ring. I was wearing Will's ring. When he sent me that dreaded text a few days ago, I went right home and dug the ring box out of the back of my bathroom cabinet. I put it on that day and decided I'd wear it every day from then on.
I looked up from my lap and answered. "Yes, this ring. He gave me this ring."
Tears were rolling down my face and my lip was shaking. I took a deep breathe and tried to calm myself.
"I want you to know that the person who gave you that ring is good. Your friend Will is 100 percent good. He only acts with the best intentions."
I nodded, unable to stop the tears. Small, dark spots formed on my jeans where my tears had splattered.
Then she said, "Now, what happened to his brother?"