Almost exactly a year ago – let me just reiterate that, AN ENTIRE YEAR AGO – I found myself sitting in front of a tarot card reader at an office summer party. I had stumbled in a little tipsy and, having never seen a psychic before, had no idea what to expect. Nonetheless, I was probably still hoping she’d tell me Prince Charming was right around the corner.
She asked me to turn over three cards. As I did, she seemed to simultaneously gasp and sigh, announcing that these were the worst three cards in the pack.
“Fear, loneliness and indecision”, she said.
My face dropped. It sounded dreadful.
Sensing that wasn’t really the news I was expecting to hear, she suggested that I turn over another card, just in case there was good news on the horizon. A further three cards later, she threw her hands in the air and announced: “Hallelujah! May 2017! You’ll have a significant relationship in MAY 2017!”
I contested the fact that it was an entire year away, but she insisted no love would cross my path until then. She gave me firm instructions to sit back and relax. Taking this as gospel, it proved to be a handy excuse to spend a few too many Saturday nights on the sofa, watching episodes of First Dates and Gogglebox, snuggled up with chocolate and marshmallow ice cream. I convinced myself it was totally justified on the basis that when May 2017 finally did appear, I’d go out every night then.
So a year later, it was May 2017.
As if out of nowhere, just as I was checking into a Silent Retreat in Bali, a guy sat down next to me. He was also checking into the same retreat. I’m not sure what it was, but I instantly liked him. He also happened to be one of the most beautiful men I’ve ever set eyes on. The “May 2017” thought did cross my mind and I preferred to conclude that it was no coincidence that I had just met Mr Gorgeous now.
Once checked in and shown to our respective rooms (his a single, mine a female dorm), I started to unpack. Working on the basis that most people go to Silent Retreats only to close their eyes (meditating or otherwise), I hadn’t bothered to pack any make-up or nice clothes. Hmmmm, should’ve planned for all eventualities.
In the afternoon I headed off to a yoga class, looking for a distraction. As I walked into the shala, I saw him, already seated, waiting for the class to begin. I had a sudden panic and almost retreated right back out of the class, but decided yoga would probably help to get rid of the nervous energy. I rolled out my mat on a space to the left of him and focussed on looking straight ahead at the teacher. I swear the teacher spent a disproportionate amount of the class telling us to turn our heads to the right. It was most distracting that his yoga outfit seemed to display a vast array of muscles that rippled as he moved from one pose to another. I resorted to having to close my eyes.
In all the hours of silence (with no internet or mobile phone distractions), I did find myself a little preoccupied with daydreams. I tried very hard not to stare.
Could you imagine my luck when it transpired that we were checking out at the EXACT SAME TIME! We were both heading back to Ubud and decided to share a taxi. I literally couldn’t believe my luck!
Alas! Almost before we’d left the drive of the Silent Retreat, he’d already fallen asleep. I stared at him, slightly opened-mouthed. How exhausting could a Silent Retreat possibly be?! Perhaps he’d caught me staring and had decided it was safer to pretend to be asleep. Either way, I spent the rest of the taxi ride talking to an Old Woman called Noreen, in the front of the taxi, who was also on her way to Ubud and had decided to hop in with us.
With precisely zero snogs in the past month, and less than eight hours of May 2017 left to go (yes, I am going out this evening), I’m starting to wonder if tarot cards are really all they’re cracked up to be…