I’m addicted to psychics. It’s bad. Real bad. Once I went for a reading and the man simply said, "Stop going to fortunetellers."
It cost $90 per visit. Money well spent, I thought. I needed to know that life would work itself out, that I too would find love.
Both times I saw him I walked carefully up the steps, where he sat securely behind his desk on the top floor of his loft, and smoked thin brown Moore cigarettes, even when it wasn’t cool to smoke anymore.
“Listen honey, I call the shots,” he said. Raymond was a short man with a resonant voice, who wrote down the answers on little pieces of pink paper and turned them over – like Vanna White – every time you asked a question.
What will I do? I asked and a writer appeared on one of his note cards.
I learned the protocol quickly. You showed him pictures and he told you things that made you wonder how there could be wars or disease if he was that good.
The first time I went, he knew my dead grandmother’s name, that I worked at an orphanage in Sri Lanka, and that I was a teacher. I wrote it all down, and left with hope.
Raymond told me that Aquarians always got what they wanted, only later in life. That I would find my love naturally; someone tall that I already knew. He asked me to send him a copy of my first book once published. I told him I’d send him ten.
“I like you,” Raymond said. “ You are the first Jewish woman who came to see me who did not demand the name of the man you were going to marry.”
I was 34. I thought I had time. Plus he told me my future mate’s first initial: M. So for the next six years, no matter whom I dated, no matter how strange he was, if his name began with the letter M., I gave him special treatment. I realized it was getting ridiculous and tried to ignore his reading. I never stayed with any of the men I met. Instead, I fell for Paul and I felt sure I was cured.
Forty and still single, I returned to his office. This time, I barely spoke at all.
I had gone out to dinner with Paul that week and did not need to mention it. He was a psychic, after all. I showed him red herring pictures of different loves, but he shooed them all away.
When I got to Paul, he stopped. He went on for a good 20 minutes about interracial couples and how he even had a mixed raced daughter I tried to stay focused. He talked of the dinner Paul and I recently had, and how he had “mommy issues” that would interfere with our relationship, but he left me with this: that Paul would be my baby daddy, all I needed to do was ask him.
I believed him. I needed to. When I learned that Paul had changed his name and his first name was really Malcolm it made it impossible to move on. I asked Raymond, if this was the younger, tall man he mentioned years ago and he said an infallible yes. “You two will make a beautiful baby.”
An addict, this became my vice. I needed hope and I was a hope junkie. Even when Malcolm dated other women, I believed, that he would find his way to me.
We never officially dated, but spent endless hours together, slept together and texted almost every day. I was the first person he called with good news and helped him through every challenge. I did this because I thought he was the one.
If you want to believe something enough, even the smartest people can be delusional.
When he looked me in the eye and said he didn’t want to date me or, as he put it, “I can’t really break up with you, because, well, I was never your boyfriend,” I should have gotten the hint, but I didn’t. After all, he still called, and visited, and flirted a lot.
One day before my 44 birthday, I finally asked him to have a child together. He said no. In disbelief, I asked again and he got irritated. He told me to think about adoption.
Instead, I tried to do it alone. I couldn’t. My 44th year was spent putting needles and hormones into my body and getting nothing in return.
After just one outburst on my part:“I don’t like the way you treat me,” he was no longer part of my life. He is instead living with his 28-year-old girlfriend.
I looked up Raymond to make one final appointment, but it turned out he had died four months back. It was the only way I could stop going and give up Malcolm, too.
I walked by Seventh Avenue recently and saw a hand written sign that said tarot card reading- $5. I almost went in for a fix of hope, but kept on walking. I would have to make my own destiny now.