a tale of tarot

The serialized story posted in its entirety…

a tale of tarot (serialized piece constructed around the major arcana)

I want you to know everything. From the beginning. I want to tell you how I dangled my toes over a cliff; once off a cracked building ledge; twice on the edge of a half tipped chair.

See there is nothing I fear about starts. Finishes are an illusion I often dread, this idea of completion. Do you believe in endings?

The first time I saw you was on a crowded Manhattan subway. When you were rushed away, I knew we would be together. That night in your bed, on your balcony, on your kitchen table…

I tried to tell you.

We are a small but clever group with no consideration of consequence. Certainly if I imagined an inability to handle something unknown, I would have never waited for you like I have been.

I have been waiting for you for an extraordinarily long time. There are no logical reasons for me to be revealing all of this to you. You will come to realize rules of logic do not apply to some collections.

Like where I belong.

Telling you all of this will hurt me. What do you understand about karma? All of my lives I step forward in fashion that reflects a youthful naivety.

Is that what attracted you to me in the first place?

I want to somehow break the cycle. Say things I was never meant to say.

I hope you will listen closely.

All of us are born with exact understandings, ability to act, divine free will. Nineteen days before we met is when I officially began business with my partner working from a small office in alphabet city.

It wasn’t that we required an “office” to provide our services, but it definitely granted us an instant impression of authority. As clients steadily began ringing our floor, there was an immediate confidence ingrained in them.

We have something they require.

From downtown lawyers to west village stay at home mothers, three or four new clients a day rang our bell. They climbed the splintered four flights to reach us. They knocked our red door with no hesitation.

They told us things they never imagined speaking out loud.

We called it a Consulting Firm. Don’t you agree that’s a funny term? “Consultant.” My partner Anthony and I, we researched a myriad of titles: Advisers, Managers, Mentors, Tutors. At one stage Anthony even suggested, “Motivational Speakers”. We laughed about that knowing that the key to our success meant having as little interaction with outsiders as required.

People like us don’t do crowds. Not because we can’t handle them. We simply have a history of keeping quiet.

History builds who you are.

Anthony and I have different goals. The business led us both to them, or led them to us I suppose.

Are you still following what I want to reveal to you? There is no such thing as coincidence. I was looking for you far before all of this began.

How far back can you recall?

I have struggled with it since youth, you know. Introductions begin as children. We dream in different ways, colors vibrate more potent shades, light takes on an entirely different meaning.

New purpose.

My early teenage years were terrible. A miserable battle between undeniable intuition and a daily requirement to attend a school that taught me nothing. Surrounded by humans veiled in fear. Young adults frightened they will never gain an acceptance that actually does not exist. Teachers afraid that the generation before them is aware of their incapability to provide any education of merit.

I never knew my father. I am an only child. My mother’s neglect was accompanied by a self-induced passivity gained through prescription bottles with a rainbow of labels.

I have not ever consumed a drug of any sort. I do not drink alcohol. Suicide has been the only consideration to cross my mind during times when awareness seemed too great.

When I was sixteen, my life changed completely.

I discovered my first teacher and learned my initial lesson of value, we always find each other. Shortly following the reward of this understanding, I met you in astral.

I knew you would not remember. I was immediately altered by your presence. Your earth-tone eyes. Your silk, raven locks. You appeared far older than you were at the time.

I swore I would find you. The physical world took new shape. For the first time this life, I believed in the possibility of meaning.

In the middle of the night I packed a suitcase. I boarded a train.

I went to New York City.

I remember the two hour ride into Manhattan more clearly than many other moments gone. I felt confident for the first time, somehow reunified with life. I had Connie to thank for that.

Connie was the teacher I mentioned, my first. She read my palm and offered me green tea. I drank her warm offering and she carefully tilted the empty porcelain mug to capture rays of autumn sun filling her kitchen window. Asymmetrical leaves lined the inside of the beige cup

She told me so many things.

I met Connie in the local cemetery. I spent most of my younger years there. Listening to headstones. Writing in my poetry books.

Did you know that I write poetry?

Connie’s voice startled me from behind when she commented, “How long have you been waiting?” When I turned over my shoulder, the words that marched across my lips shocked me even more. Four uninstructed syllables took control of my voice before time made room for any gesture of contemplation.

“Where have you been?”

Connie is dead now. She was eighty-seven when I met her. She wore her hair in long white braids beneath a violet head scarf. Her wardrobe consisted of three black dresses and she wore leather ankle boots even on the hottest summer days.

There was more life in her eyes than I expected people to be capable of. She saw that in me, my apparent mistrust of her evident kindness.

“You cannot stay so angry,” she warned. “You carry it with you, it will destroy your health. Listen to what I am telling you. Anger is a costume for sorrow.”

Connie gripped my wrists like a vice while she studied the spiderweb lines carved into my palms. Rivers of lifetimes etched into my skin.

“Everyone assumes they know you, but you know no one except for one other,” she said running the sharp edge of her index finger down my sloping life line. I had never experienced comfort from any touch prior. “Do not speak unless you are certain. The protection around you is great.”

She gave me three books and I left.

I never saw her again.

Knowing what to do with it, to me, has sometimes felt like the hardest thing.
When I initially arrived in the city, a job and shelter were my two priorities. I stayed in a hostile on the lower east side for two weeks and focussed.

Focus is an intense power, learning to control thought and limit distraction. Acute empathy is one our greatest strengths and most dangerous weaknesses. There are shielding mechanisms to protect us from our own sensitivities, but they never appealed to me. I feel alienated enough, disconnecting from emotion removes the one way I manage to relate to other people.

I knew the only way I was going to settle into a new life quickly was to manifest what was immediately required. I spent three hours a day meditating. I burnt sage and sandalwood. Every morning I stated out loud what was required and vowed the day would bring me closer to getting it.

New York City sidewalks are like no other place in the world. I spent afternoons perched on high rise stoops watching crowds of strangers rush by with a majority of individuals turning to return my smile.

There is nothing in my power that I wouldn’t do to help someone. People can tell that about me. And like Connie said, they usually recognize me.

But I was looking for you.

Six days after arriving I gained a job as a dishwasher in a Cuban restaurant where I stayed for nearly ten years. My Spanish was not any better than my coworkers’ English. We communicated in smiles and nods. They paid me in cash and never asked my age or where I lived.

Over the years I resided in a few different places. Immediately following my time at the hostile, I moved in with a German man named Sam who lived in China Town.

Remember how I said that we find who we are meant? Did you feel that when you first saw me watching you?

Do you know how you affect me?

Sam taught me about magic. I lived with him for many years before he started telling me things. He silently observed me reading books about the occult and divination. Back then I believed there was something mystical to it.

I now apprehend the great difference between the principals of magic and esotericism. These days magic, to us, is something facile. The craft is not what Sam taught me which proved of value.

He taught me the limitless potential of ritual.

You see, with no fear of death, I have been prepared to conclude this life on numerous occasions. The first was from a cathedral ceiling beam in the room I rented from Sam. He silently entered and stared at me blankly. I had been living with him for over fifty months at that point, during which period we exchanged approximately three dozen sentences.

“That won’t get you anywhere,” he advised the day he discovered me with a black cord looped over my head and one foot stepped forward off a three-legged stool. “You will only have to start again.”

Like Connie, Sam was generations older than me, in his seventies. He started putting together different satchels of herbs for me to carry in my pocket and gave me crocheted pouches of crystals to wear around my neck. I started paying more attention to the moon.

The afternoon I left Sam he put both hands on each of my cheeks. “Listen closely,” he said. “Always listen.”

I started living alone after that. I awoke one day feeling unsettled and walked from my studio on Bleeker Street down to Sam’s place. He wasn’t there. On the way home I bought an African Violet plant. It didn’t take me long to start feeling better.

To regain focus.

After many comfortable years at the restaurant it was time to move on. The husband and wife that owned the establishment had grown to consider me theirs.

Tears were shed the day that I left.

The decision was difficult to accept. I knew that life would be easier if I stayed, and in a way that was exactly what I wanted. A daily routine of washing, drying, and pondering.

Life is constructed of arduous choices.

As time went by my understanding expanded, my views on the intermingling of occultism and physical existence came together and further defined my character. I needed to achieve a balance that would be stunted if I did not consciously move forward.

I am anti-organized religion. However I had been reading heavily about Spiritualism. And although I knew that I was not out to join any church,I attended a sermon at the Spiritualist church the Saturday after I left my job.

I was twenty-six years old by then.

Have you ever done something simply because you knew you had to? People often mistake this mastery with intuition. Although intuition does play a role, what I am referring to is much deeper.

The day that I stepped into the church, I uniquely grasped a defining quality of this life’s path.

Someone was leading me. They had been all along.

The days between leaving the only job I had ever known and attending the Spiritualist church remain some of my most uncertain. I felt the anger taking over that I had been warned about by teachers, the sadness.

I spent a lot of time on top of my apartment building. The alarm meant to sound when the rooftop access door opened never worked. I knew that it wouldn’t from the first day I escaped twenty-seven stories up to see if life appeared different from that height.

The night before I attended mass I stood with the toes of both my feet spread out and over the ledge. One fall forward is what I told myself.

One fall forward. A new type of courage.

But you wouldn’t let me.

A Spiritualist ceremony consists of two parts. The second part is what I was interested in, the part delivered by a Medium. My ears have always been open. I was interested in finding another.

When I walked into church the following day, Anthony stood on the alter, staring down the center isle, looking right into me with navy eyes. He is braver than I am, stronger. That does not mean he has ever doubted the reliance between us.

He called my name and everyone in the pews turned to look.

“I have a message from your father.”

Anthony immediately verified the only facts I knew about my father. “He was born in Egypt. He left your mother before you were born. He was a brilliant Physicist.”

He followed up these statements with what I was unaware of. Things I may have not been ready to hear. “Your mother never told him she was pregnant with you. He was in a fatal car accident eleven years ago.”

A warmness covered me from head to toe. The lights in the church flickered. Anthony smiled at me. And somehow I understood that what he was telling me was the only information that would enable me to move forward.

I had spent weeks of the previous months in a depression that I refused to acknowledge. If you acknowledge something, if you accept its presence, we believe this gives it power to grow. So I suppressed it. I acted like losing all contact with my mother didn’t cross my mind once a day. I pretended that the wonder of who my father was didn’t keep me awake at night.

I told myself your perpetual absence wasn’t slowly killing me, turning off all desire in me to complete the strings of karmic tasks necessary to reach you.

Were you thinking about me? Didn’t you wonder where I was?

I left the church with Anthony. He invited me to live with him. I agreed to move into his apartment but said I needed a month’s time.

Everything was about to change again. Somehow I needed to prepare.

During the four weeks prior to moving in with Anthony I only left my apartment a handful of times. I stayed inside reading books and sitting in silence. Although the silence I refer to does not fall into any category of isolation’s hush.

I was listening quite closely.

I would have stayed if I had known. I would have been more careful.

I read books by Richard Cavendish and Aleister Crowley. I listened to Tibetan chants. I fasted for days at a time. I considered approaching you.

I knew where you were. Closer than ever before.

You aren’t the type to spend time alone. Your vibrance and beauty can’t stand for it, regardless of your feeble attempts. I love you more than anything, but you are not strong enough to endure what I have seen. Things I experience on a daily basis.

You don’t have to though. It’s what I’m here for.

I didn’t know it was going to be like this. The time I spent studying.

I came out of solitude with refreshed sorts of acceptance. There is nothing that occurs that I ever wish to change. Everything is predestined. You reading this now. Me choosing to tell you.

Walking down the subway steps to take a train to my new residence with Anthony, something occurred to me. I no longer felt that the beliefs that construct us seemed esoteric.

I felt pleased by the practicality of it all.

I was not expecting to see you that day, riding the subway, sitting across from me.

You are one of the only things capable of surprising me.

I tried not to stare at you. I nervously tapped my foot. I pretended to read. l acted like I wasn’t eavesdropping when someone with red hair leant in close to you and said, “This feels like it’s taking forever. How many more stops?”

And you said, “Only a few more darling. My place is on Orchard Street.”

Then you looked at me while the stranger bit your ear. You were surprised that neither of us looked away. You tilted your head to the left.

I did not smile. I did not blink.

A group of four men boarded the train in Union Square and cooed a doo-wop harmony. Your suitor grew restless and placed a hand on your cheek to turn your attention their way. Your lips swung to the right, your eyes stayed on me.

I wanted to cry for a few minutes at that moment. Instead I held my gaze. I wanted to be sure. That’s when the train screeched to a halt.

“We’re here!” cheered your blue shoed companion tugging you away from me. Only you hesitated.

“Do I know you?”

I said nothing. But for the first time that day, a smile spread across my searching countenance.

My luck was changing.

You must know that I wanted to chase you. Follow you off the train. Tell that dreadful red-head beckoning you to seek other interests.

Tell you all of this then.

But that was impossible. Too many consequences.

I was concerned you might mistake my keen balance of emotion and rationality as being phlegmatic. I sent you three dozen long stem roses with no card. When you asked the red-head who sent them, you received a bashful smile and eye-blink in return.

Knowing that didn’t make me jealous. I am not a jealous person.

Do you understand our history in this city yet?

I wanted to tell you sooner.

The day that I moved in with Anthony was a harmonious relief. “I am so happy you’re finally here,” he said. “How perfect that we chose now to begin.”

Anthony and I started offering discrete channeling services. We contacted lost children for estranged parents, lovers for their abandoned partners, siblings for the lonely best friend they left behind.

People put the faith of God in us. Neither one of us understood that. When your purpose is to help, you don’t second guess why. And besides, the more I practiced, the more comfortable I became with pieces of my reason, the closer you became.

Do you know how many lives we have shared in this city?

Our business brought psychological comfort to myself, Anthony and our clients. When Anthony could tell that I had accepted mediumship he asked me a question that altered me all over, “Do you know who it is that you’re hearing?”

I wanted to tell you in a different way…

It was my father.

Anthony supported this fact with more details. He taught me about guides, unseen spirits. “They come and go you know,” he preached. “You don’t have the same one all of the time. Your father has always been in and out of your life, you could always tell, I’m sure.”

He was right.

This insight didn’t make me feel better about anything. I felt bitter, cheated in some ways.

Where was he when I needed him?

Where were you?

Believe me when I tell you that it isn’t easy being on my side of the matter. Feeling betrayed by my father, ignored by you.

I reached a point where I wanted to stop listening to the both of you. I grew tired of invisible influence. I took greater interest in Anthony, his kindness and generosity, his intelligence and precision. He saw me losing sight of you, and you don’t even know how lucky you are that one day he said, “As much as I want to keep you I cannot. You have obligations outside of these walls.”

Our business lasted twelve months. We made more money than some people see in a single lifetime. And when Anthony decided we had done all the good work together possible, he embraced me on his doorstep and wiped away a tear.

“I will see you again.”

I am so sorry…

Accepting it does not solve matters, as one might assume.

Shortly after I left Anthony’s, I was more confident than ever before. Contrary to constructing assurance, this broke down everything I wanted to believe.

Deep down, I always wished to be normal.

I accepted this would never be. I realized complete surrender was my only chance of survival. This was a difficult task for me. Certainly you have heard the common saying, “The truth will set you free.”

I could not imagine a more deceitful phrase.

Regardless of how ingrained my beliefs became, I found myself wishing for ignorance more and more. I wanted to be someone who watched television and attended sporting events. A person who ate fast food and got wasted every Friday and Saturday night.

Why couldn’t you just let that be me?

I knew your arrival grew closer each day, and that I had to speak more with my father.

I wanted to hurt myself. I was tired of changing. This rapid cycle of evolving.

I wanted to have 2.5 children and an SUV I had no use for.

The second chair I thought might end it had a scarlet cushion and four stained legs. I was living in Harlem then. Alone.

I wrote you a letter after I made my decision.

You should be here. Why didn’t you see me? Shouldn’t you be stopping this? Why does it always have to be me?

When the voice intervened, I ignored it at first. I was accustomed to disruption. It was what you said that ended my last attempt of freedom.

“Not now!” you pleaded. “Not yet…”

Many of my most valuable lessons have come during meditation. You are not the type to meditate. You think it’s a waste of time and suppose all to know comes about during daily routines.

I am fiercely disciplined.

If I did not choose to balance daily happenings, life would be chaos. You wouldn’t mind that though. You find something romantic about chaos. You’ve told me that on more than one occasion.

You and I are different in some ways. So different.

My father continued speaking to me.

Take better care of yourself. We have awaited this moment.

He started appearing in my dreams. I was angry about this. Dreams are your place. Not his. He missed too much of my life to suddenly step in. I resented him. I started chewing my fingernails and taking sleeping pills.

It was the first time this life where what I understood did not matter. Emotion took over.

Why are you doing this?

What I knew and what I cared about were spilt in two. I need you to be there. I needed to tell you. It was too much pressure.

You shouldn’t take this personally.

I decided that I had waited long enough. I had been tracking you for a very long time. Where you were living, where you worked.

I set off to confront you.

I went to your job.

A beautiful girl greeted me at the door. A New York City girl with a trendy hairstyle and perfect manicure.

“Dining alone this evening?”

I sat in a corner booth. I watched you fill wine glasses for a couple in love. A cologne scented man and a woman wearing a diamond. I resented them.

I wanted you.

“You’re here…” were the only two words you spoke to me. You took me back to your apartment.

It lasted for hours. In your bed, on your balcony, on your kitchen table.

You took a shower while the rising sun tinted rooftops shades of tangerine and magenta. I studied your bookshelf. You read a lot of poetry. I looked in your refrigerator. You still drink too much.

Why can’t you mention why you’re here?

Our history is tangled. I thought if I unravelled in front of you, exposed myself, I could change it all.

I am tired of going through this. Aren’t you?

I left before you finished your shower.

I dedicated all of my time to practice and clients. I obsessed over you. It isn’t about wanting to be close. You and I are never separate. I understand how you felt now.

Last time, I was the one to forget.

It was unsafe to see you again. The waiting is the worst part.

Blood relationships mean nothing in the scheme of things.

The more my father spoke to me. The less I listened. He became frustrated. Assertive. He interrupted my thoughts one afternoon.

I cannot help you if you will me not to. I will never stop trying. This attempt is complete.

The three of us have ancient history. You and I are meant to have a child. Two centuries ago our child was kidnapped. Murdered. Neither one of us overcame the devastation. We have lived so many lives together since then.

What is masked as an esoteric education is simply a powerful memory.

And you remember too.

He is locked in limbo for what he has done. Accidents strike him every lifetime, regardless of the form he takes. He has been my father on more than one occasion, he was a brother to you in the past, an uncle on a few occasions.

I hate him. You hate him too.

We can never be together as long as this carries on. I try to learn forgiveness. Forget about finding the body. Forget about our pact.

People assume they comprehend pain.

Contrary to what masses may choose to comprehend about healing and grief. Some suffering can be eternal.

By living a life focussed on helping others, I thought there might be repair and satisfaction. I thought utilizing natural abilities to assist others connect with who they have lost would alleviate the grudge.

It did not seem to be happening.

I kept working. Life was more peaceful when he stopped talking to me.

I thought of you every day. I told myself it wasn’t constraining me while I burnt patchouli oil and practiced yoga. I told myself it was liberating.

For a brief period it felt that way.

A client came to me shortly after losing her teenage son to leukemia. I held her hands with closed eyes and talked about how much it meant to her little boy that she still allowed him to play baseball even as he continued getting sick. I told him he said he was sorry he couldn’t get better and she started to cry.

“That’s exactly what he used to say to me, ‘I‘m sorry I can’t get better mommy.’ Do you have any children? You seem like you would be such an amazing parent, one any child would be lucky to have.”

Sometimes I still see our baby while I’m sleeping. I remember how we used to bathe her in the river, take turns carrying her on our shoulders. She had your eyes and my lips.

Ideas like this were forming what seemed to be the best part of this life. I was captured by contentment. I was centered, optimistic even.

I replayed the night I spent with you so many times in my mind that I didn’t realize how much time had passed since then. I wrote poems about it.

I fantasized about you. About all the lives we’ve lived together in this town.

Regardless of how I try to spend my time alone, your imprint controls my thought processes. Our history carves my actions.

The thing is, we both know better. We know we’re only harming ourselves – holding onto death. Refusing to make room for life.

We want him to suffer eternally, regardless of what it does to us.

You are perfect to me. You are my only understanding of perfection. When we had a child together it was perfect. Our suicide pact… perfect.

Why should either one of us live with the burden of setting him free? Once upon a time we thought happiness existed, I’ve lost track of how may lifetimes ago that was.

New York City has brought us both refreshed vitality. Each time we are born and return to this city to find the other, something new and exciting awaits. Someone like Anthony, or a red-headed stranger. This place contains more opportunities of avoidance than you or I ever thought possible.

Yet we conclude the same every time.

Every single time.

You started doing heroin. I knew when I began waking up in the middle of the night vomiting. And I began to plan a retaliation. A noose… a far jump… something you would not try to prevent this time.

Because you were dying slowly. I understood your reasoning, I only wished you had chosed a quicker method.

Why are you dragging this out?

You and I have always shared secrets. The kind that set you free.

We exchange lifetimes of knowing. We alternate. You’re born awake. Me. Then you. I have chosen to make this time an exception.

I am telling you everything.

I like to think that you’ve considered this in the past, that you’ve wanted to save me.

I wouldn’t be telling you all of this if I didn’t know without a shadow of a doubt that it is the only way we will ever be free.

I know you well enough to understand the deception you will mistakenly suffer. Our child is waiting. Until we extend beyond this, she will never have a chance.

You must believe me.

How else would I know all of this? How else would you recall?

I can feel you more than ever. I know that you remember.

I do not want to forgive him. Parts of me will never. Without you, I cannot. Without you, I am nothing.

Surely you must be growing as tired of this as I am.

The red-head brought you to a lounge. One that plays live jazz and still lets people smoke cigars inside. They wanted to dance with you, dance around you in drunk, seductive circles.

When I walked in last night, it changed your life.

It changed our life.

One look made room for light. And we both knew what was next.

Free will is the most powerful tool we are born with. Everyone has it. Most people are just too afraid to use it.

Most people don’t know what to do with it.

You watched me across the room for two hours before approaching. There was a sadness in your eyes about having to make this choice again. The same choice we face every time.

This time I wanted it to be different. So did you.

By the time you walked away from your group of companions gin controlled their attention much more than your presence. As you walked toward me, you thought about all the times I’ve waited for you.

You trust me. Even though we’ve killed one another time and time again. Last time you pulled the trigger for both of us. The time before I provided the poison. When I attempted doing it on my own all those instances this try around, I knew things were changing.

You learn that as we become more in tune, there is no room for hate. Anger has no place. Understanding fills gaps of emotional vacancy the wiser we become.

You and I, well, we are very wise.

We have dedicated lifetimes to learning.

We wove our fingers together and walked out of the lounge. From the grip of your acceptance, I knew this was the time we had been waiting for.

It’s been ten years since we walked out together. We’ve never seen the other in a body that’s aged before. Usually we end it no later than thirty.

I count your grey hairs while you sleep and trace my fingers along the veins on the back of your hands.

Next life, this time, our child will be seventeen by now. And she will teach us all the things we’ve been waiting to learn.

Isn’t it funny, we used to think we knew it all.

Life in the country isn’t anything like New York City and we miss it sometimes. You miss the attention of strangers, I miss the simplicity of being nothing more than just that.

“Do you still feel angry?” you ask one evening as we watch the sun dip into a canvas of green. There’s a swing on the front porch like you always promised me we’d have one day.

My eyes tear a bit, but I won’t accept that as crying. And you won’t make it into an issue.

Because you love me as much as I love you. So instead of asking anything else, you reach for my glass of water and sip from it.

We always drink from the same glass. We only keep one in the cupboard.

“I hope she has your eyes,” you tell me.

And I decide to write it all down.

Because I want her to know everything.

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