As previously mentioned, there I was, heartbroken and confused. Another relationship consigned to the dustbin of history (and no, it wasn’t with the Uber driver). Eighteen long months, up in smoke. My 37th year all set to end with the three biggest boxes left unticked. Again. I was starting to feel like I was failing at life and it seemed as if I was at a Crossroads – or maybe a dead end? Either way, I felt exhausted, emotionally bereft and completely and utterly lost.
And so I did what anyone in my predicament would do: I called Pauline.
Pauline (who appears to be renowned/diva enough to go by first name only, a la Rihanna) had been recommended by a friend at work and was clearly in demand – I had to wait an entire fortnight before I could get anywhere near her. It was pretty weird, ringing a mysterious stranger on a mysterious number. Plus the only slot she had left was in the middle of a Wednesday afternoon, so I had to make my excuses and creep into the office fire escape in order to hear what she had to say – which of course only served to make things all the more clandestine.
Now as a Christian, I’d been taught not to dabble in this kind of thing – generally speaking, it gets filed under ‘witchcraft’, or worse – but have always remained curious and enjoy reading the horoscopes (shout out to Susan Miller). I even used to write them for a women’s magazine where I was interning in the 90s, despite knowing next to nothing about astrology (it’s actually incredibly difficult to come up with 12 different ways of saying ‘you’re wonderful and you’ll meet the partner of your dreams/win the national lottery/live happily ever after’ without looking too obvious). So I was well aware I was on dodgy ground, here. But I needed answers.
I had no idea what to expect – the name alone had thrown me completely. Aren’t they supposed to be called things like Esmerelda the Great or Mystic Mog? Pauline just sounded so… ordinary. As the phone began to ring, I started to wonder what she’d sound like. Would she be all floaty and whispery, speaking in low, hushed tones with wind chimes and jasmine in the background? And what would she tell me? I was desperate for words of direction and encouragement – but what if the message was something I didn’t really want to hear? What if she had nothing to say to me at all?
Just as I began to contemplate putting the phone down, Pauline picked up. The deep, brusque, straight-talking voice on the other end of the line instantly blew all thoughts of whale song and incense right out the window. Instead, an image of Pat Butcher sprang to mind: a hardened East-End chain-smoker with a penchant for peroxide, big earrings and frosted pink lipstick. Now I’ve never laid eyes on Pauline and it’s probably fair to assume that this visual is miles off the mark – but that’s who I pictured doing my reading. Unexpected, but kinda cool.
Anyhoo, I needn’t have worried about what we were going to discuss to kill the time – turns out Pauline had more than a thing or two to tell me about myself in what will likely go down as one of the most intriguing conversations of my life. Things like:
- I definitely shouldn’t go back to my ex. Because it was becoming unhealthy for me. Mentally. In fact, it was affecting my entire nervous system.
- I’ve never been in love. I think that I’ve been in love – twice, in my life – but I haven’t experienced it for real. Yet.
- I should have met the man of my dreams at the age of 27. At 28, I’d have got married. And at 29/30, I’d have had the first of two or three children (she never got round to explaining why this never happened. Maybe I don’t want to know).
- I will meet the man of my dreams in February, and we could be married by May, should we wish.
- I will become the first family member in a generation to meet their true soulmate.
- He’s 38/39.
- He looks very good in a suit – but also in jeans.
- He’s a director in the creative world and speaks two different languages.
- He’s also 6’4”. Which Pauline found hysterical, as by her own declaration I’m “a midget” (4’10”, in case you were wondering). She assured me wholeheartedly that our wedding photos will look ridiculous.
- I have a lot of insecurities and I’m very sensitive – but she can feel that people judge me based on what they see, not what they know (which might go some way to explaining why I often feel misunderstood).
- I’ve had 43 past lives. In 27 of them, I was a man. Which is why I prefer wearing trousers (I had to clap my hand over my mouth at that one – I was in stitches!).
- In my last life, I was French. Before that, I was Spanish. And before that, I was Irish. I’ve also been Australian, German and Singaporean.
- I’ve been reincarnated in America three times – which means it would be a good place for me to live.
- I will go on holiday five times in 2018 – two of which will be taken quite quickly within each other – and will land in seven countries.
- I will also have five causes for congratulations – three will involve champagne.
- I should play the lottery every Wednesday and Saturday (lucky dip).
- Dad’s doing fine – which is good to know (he died in 2006). He’s smiling and hanging out with folks on the other side (he did always love a good get-together. Preferably with a few bottles of Guinness).
- I will purchase a couple of properties with my aforementioned gigantic husband. Including our four-bedroomed marital home, which Pauline seemed particularly taken with, describing every detail right down to the lighting fixtures.
- Everything inside will be brand new and pristine – I might even become one of those annoying people who force visitors to take their shoes off at the front door when they come round.
However, the most shocking revelation was saved till last. Pauline – who, unsurprisingly, has no religious affiliation whatsoever – told me that I’m not speaking to God enough… and then instructed me to pray. Twice a day. Every day. Because he hears us. She even emailed three to me: one for forgiveness, one for protection, and one for blessings.
I was gobsmacked. These aren’t mantras or spells or affirmations: these are straight-up, bona fide prayers. And she even told me to keep praying them once my blessings had come to pass, because the heavens need to know that I am praying to respect, not to receive. I even fessed up and shared them with a few of my church folk to make sure I wasn’t unwittingly invoking any scary s*** and they all separately verified that they actually looked legit.
Imagine that. Essentially, I’d dialled a ‘sorceress’ instead of calling on the Lord – but still got put through to Jesus. Ha! If that’s not an example of God working in mysterious ways, then I don’t know what is.
Of course, you’ll be wondering whether any of these predictions have actually come true. Well, as I said, this daddy longlegs was supposed to stride into my life in February – but the eagle-eyed among you will have noticed that we’re well into April. So either he’s dressed in an invisibility cloak or playing a blinder at hide and seek, because this great big hunk of love is nowhere to be seen – and someone the size of a telegraph pole really shouldn’t be that hard to spot.
Maybe I’ve been saying my prayers wrong and scuppered all the timings. Maybe God is blanking me because I got them from an unconventional source. Or maybe Pauline’s phone calls are just a better version of my intern horoscopes: something to distract the mind and lift the spirits. Something to offer the answers you’ve been searching for. Something to give you a bit of hope for tomorrow.
Time will tell. Let’s wait and see.
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