The Deep End #14
by Cherie Ann Turpin
(30 Stories in 30 Days)
I occasionally did tarot readings for Tony and gave him advice on rituals, as he was a solitary practitioner, albeit on the sly because of his family, a large clan of Baptists and Pentacostalists with a smattering of Methodists. His father was the head pastor of a Baptist church in Raleigh, North Carolina. He was also nervous about his Christian fundamentalist boss finding out about his spiritual practices, for fear of losing or compromising his clearance as a defense contractor for NSA. He came to me two years ago with a dilemma about a woman who seemed inaccessible, yet intriguing.
Tony met her at an Apple conference in San Francisco three years ago, a voluptuous woman with long, thick twists and rich, copper-brown skin who was almost as tall as him. He imagined her full thighs matched against his slim frame as she walked towards him wearing a dark green dress and sensible heels. When she smiled her face radiated warmth and a willingness to trust. They exchanged phone numbers and email addresses over coffee and sandwiches before she departed to meet colleagues for a networking event. After he returned to Baltimore, he only got as far as the one phone call to her that did not lead to a follow-up. She actually did call him back, but he was “unavailable,” or unwilling to return her phone calls. She did what most people would do–she moved on.
Meanwhile, he began seeing a woman from his office, almost as a consolation prize for what he described to me once as “another humiliating rejection from a sister.” The relationship with his second choice did not last, no surprise to me or anyone else who knew him. He saw the first woman again in Vegas at another conference, only to discover that she was involved with and engaged to an attorney. Her smile, according to Tony, was just as warm, but less trusting of him.
He decided to try to get her interested in calling him again by using love magic. He spent hundreds of dollars on Come to Me incense, Love oils, red and pink candles, not to mention the readings he received from me. I started charging him a minimal fee because of the energy he was draining from me. No results. He began to consult with a spirit worker less inclined to maintain ethical boundaries.
He appeared at my door one night, haggard and somewhat jittery. I sat him down and listened to him confess to stalking her. He began spying on her social media profiles and her email. She had been talking about him, wondering whatever happened to him, and the unreliability of men who couldn’t deal with women who actually say yes to them. Her fiance had mysteriously broken up with her and eloped with someone who seemed to appear almost out of the sky as “the love of his life.”
I looked at Tony, expecting him to say that he finally talked to her, that he had stopped using magic to make his decisions for him. He stuttered as he explained his latest surveillance trick to discover more information before making the phone call to her. In other words, he squandered yet another open door. It was just as well. This was a poorly gained opportunity that had all the signs of an impending disaster of his own making. In his current state of mind, he could be downright dangerous to her. Come to think of it, he could be dangerous to me. I needed to find a way to amp him down from the ledge. He was my spiritual child, and I sensed him looking for a way out of his self-made trap.
I wondered why it had not occurred to him that he was probably in danger of losing his clearance due to his gross misuse of surveillance tools, as well as being arrested for stalking. After making him some green tea, I pulled out my Crowley deck and did a three card pull: the ten of Wands, the Devil, and the Hanged Man. My task was getting Tony to understand what just happened, and how he needed to fix what he damaged within himself through his obsession.
I looked into his dark eyes now glazed with tears. For the first time in months I saw genuine sorrow and guilt wrapped up in rage. I heard myself say, “You’ve tortured yourself for over a year because of your own pride and your own fear of rejection. You didn’t need magic to fall in love, you never did. But this is not love. Your fear made you turn your soul inside out just to control her.”
This was not quite me coming out my mouth. Uh-oh. She was nudging me to stand aside so She could come through and speak. I felt the tipsy feeling flow through my mouth as Spirit began to speak through me. My voice deepened and I saw myself rise up as Spirit rode me to speak to Tony. He could not hear me tell him the complete truth of what he had done, and what he had to do to make it right. He had to hear it from She:
Perhaps you could be a couple. Perhaps not. You cannot not make her do anything. No candle or spell will make her love you. You have to start over at the beginning from honesty and truth, or nothing at all.
Starting over from scratch is not an easy choice to make. He had to deal with the reality that she could say no, and he had to accept that risk as a part of accepting her as a free, sentient being with her own voice and desires.
Then I heard/felt She say to him in a loud booming voice: You’ve got to learn how to swim in the deep part, at the deep end. You’ve got to get your head wet, boy.
I fell back on the couch, and I looked up at him. His face was frozen in shock. I slowly sat up and reached over to his lower jaw, and gently pushed his mouth shut. This was his first time seeing Spirit ride me. He silently pulled on his suit jacket and walked out the front door of my house. I wrapped up my Tarot cards and watched him stumble on my driveway into his Mercedes SUV.
A natural fool coming to his senses almost too late. Almost, but not quite.
He stopped talking to me for several months. It was just as well. It was not my business or task to intervene, at least not that point. Spirit warned me to avoid him for a time. Last I heard he’d started seeing a therapist for his obsessive personality issues, and was looking into making a career switch. His manager discovered his off-the-clock surveillance activities, and would have fired him had his unit not been reorganized as a result of a seemingly unrelated upheaval in structure due to the Eric Snowden incident. Tony escaped a disastrous descent into legal purgatory by virtue of a sudden shift in the dimension all of us happen to share.
If he wanted to be with her or anyone else, he would have to journey beyond the comforts of fear and obsession, beyond his narcissism, and beyond his own fear of the unknown. That may take more than one plunge into the deep end.