When I got back home last night, I looked at myself in the mirror, and I thought that face wasn’t mine.
My hair flew wildly, naturally around my face. My almond eyes were huge, and the small gap between my teeth was more pronounced. My lips were a little stained, giving my reflection a fresh, berry hint of natural vitality.
I felt closer to the earth. As I watched myself unscrew the same tube of toothpaste I’d used in the past two months, I felt stunned by the unfamiliar gracefulness. Who was this Spanish woman staring back at me?
This morning, I found the courage to wear my hair down. You should feel different this week. I felt it already. The first thing I did when I got to the office was check my email. Boy’d sent a response. I really enjoyed seeing you too. Sorry about last weekend.
How sweet, the double apology. And yet, that wasn’t at the top of my mind. The spiritual session was. The feeling of awe had remained, his words rewinding and playing in my mind over and over again. Was I really psychic? Was my spirit really bigger than body? Would I really be OK with my breathing? Nooo ….
I questioned these things over dinner too. Under a dangling lamp, I spoke to Art and broke the bread. The white light glistened in our empty plates. Our energies fought with each other. After a few appetizers, a battle ensued between our spirits. With the arrival of the entree, it raged into a war, settling down only at mid-dessert. Why must we always rehash the past? I asked him impatiently. And then the healer’s words entered my head again … those who eat a lot of sugar are usually missing something sweet in their lives.
By the time we walked outside, we were fine again. Our spirits had reconciled. “The past is a foreign country,” Art said. “They do things differently there.” I was quiet. The fall chill still hung between us as we walked.
We said goodbye at the train. He took the downtown route, I took the uptown, and so we stood facing each other, a rail track apart, across the platform. My train came first, carrying me away, and I knelt in the hard seat against the window and waved until he was out of sight. When I turned around and sat, I raised my eyes to the Spaniard sitting across from me. He smiled sweetly, knowingly at me. I smiled back, then looked away quickly. I was restless. I wanted to walk, feel the cold enter my bones again.
When the train reached the next stop, I got out, although it wasn’t mine. I walked down the stairs, turned the familiar route, and before I knew what I was doing, I realized that I was walking to the bar again. The place where the session took place yesterday. The healer’s bar. In horror, a quick thought raced through my mind, fast like the mice that passed under the bench I sat with Boy at a few nights ago: What if he cast a spell on me last night?
A spell that says, “You will always follow me. And when you stray, you will always come find me.” I laughed nervously, feeling as if I was being videotaped at night for a movie, but I continued to walk. My feet carried me closer and closer, and I wondered if he stood behind the wine bottles, knowing, seeing me in his mind. Suddenly, I missed my friends. I missed the simple anguish of wondering if Boy likes me. I missed the stagnant certainty of the daily routine, the way it feels to hold a book, eat a banana, wait for a train or fashion a scarf over your coat. What if the spell keeps me from doing these things I love?
I was a short block away, and I could already see the bar. It looked dark inside. And then, another thought. Don’t do it. The little girl inside me talked. You can do it. Listen to her. I listened. In an instant, I turned around, and took the long road to my own house. The farther I went from that block, the more empowered I felt. And suddenly I realized: How can anyone ever control your mind if you make the conscious decision not to let them?
Magic isn’t that magical anymore when you stop believing it. In fact, stop believing in anything in life, and it will stop existing. That’s why Santa never makes it into adulthood.