Life Journey by Tracy Morris

Roller Coaster:

We knock on the door with purpose. How did I let Sarah talk me into this. A fortune teller for crying out loud. What a load of rubbish, I think to myself. The door opens a man smiles “come in, come in” he says. He looks to be in his mid fifty’s, his hair is all grey. The lines in his face make him look animated when he speaks. “Come in ladies, sit down” he continues beckoning us to sit at a old but clean pine table. Sarah and I take a seat each, there doesn’t seem to be anyone else here. I am suddenly aware that we are alone in a strange mans house. This makes me slightly uncomfortable. 

Sarah is bouncing with excitement. “You must be Dave” she says shaking the mans hand. “Yes that’s me, and you must be Sarah, and this lady must be Vicky” he states looking at me. “Erm yes I mumble”. “Right ladies, who’s going first”? he asks. “Me.. me please” Sarah gushes. “I cant believe he knew which one was which, I’m so excited” She whispers as she brushes past me. Lucky guess, I think to myself he has a 50/50 chance of being right. Why am I here? I wonder there is so much going on at home. My husband and I barely see each other as it is and when we do all we do is fight. The kids are picking up on it and I can sense the tension in the house. It wasn’t supposed to be like this why cant we just be happy like normal people? 

Sarah comes out after thirty minutes, that’s not bad money Dave I think to myself. That’s a pound a minute at thirty pounds per person. Sarah has been crying, Oh for gods sake I think. She’s so gullible she has just lost her beloved Nanna and I know she misses her guidance. Which is one the reasons she came, “Are you okay” I ask I’m very fond of Sarah we have been through a lot together in the past ten years of friendship. “Yes” she sniffles, “he is amazing Vicky, go on your turn” she says tearfully. Oh well might as well get this over with. Dave gestures me to sit in an old velvet green armchair. I hope this is not the cats bed I think to myself. By the way the big ginger cat is staring at me I think it is.

“Right Vicky, I want to show you these cards” Dave says. He lays them face down in two piles on the small table in front of me. He pulls up a kitchen chair and sits opposite me looking at me intently. I feel uncomfortable under his scrutiny and shuffle in the chair. “Vicky I want you to pick a card from anywhere in the pack and lay it face up on the table. Good luck Dave I think, you wont get anything from me. I have no family, its just me and my mother. She is a bitter viscous woman who has driven all of our family away. So I don’t have anyone on the other side, I have never lost anyone I care about. So lets see what you’ve got Dave. 

The card shows two skeletons with swords and shields fighting each other. “Hmmm… “Dave mumbles Interesting”, Vicky pick another one. I pick a card from the middle of the pack and turn it over. It shows a skeleton on the top of a castle tower with a sword. “Right Vicky one last card I think, then we can chat” Dave says. I pick another card from the bottom this time it shows a skeleton draped in a cloak looking downcast holding a black wilting rose. “Ah as I suspected” Dave mutters. “Right Vicky, I’m going to tell you what I see, are you ready”? Dave asks sternly. “Yes” I reply, get on with it I’m thinking then Sarah and I can pop in the pub on the corner and have a quick drink before we go home. I can’t remember the last time I went out it has to be at least a year. 

“Vicky” Dave voice brings me back to the room I had zoned out for a minute. “I believe the first card you picked shows me that, your life is a constant battlefield”. He states firmly. “you are always fighting someone or something, you and your husband are struggling to hear one another”. “Don’t give up on him, Vicky I don’t see divorce here” he continues. “Okay” I reply, very clever Dave he can see I have a wedding band. He has probably noticed the dark circles under my eyes. All married couples fight its not hard to pick random things up from our conservations as we waited for Dave to set up. “Also” he continues as he turns over the second card. “You are protecting your heart from hurt, can you see the way you are defending your fortress”? he asks. “Er yes I suppose so” I mumble. What is he talking about what a load of rubbish I think. “Vicky you need to let love in, can you understand that by fighting everyone and being defensive will keep out the joy as well as the pain”? he asks me.

Tears from in the back of my eyes, oh yeah Dave I’m to blame for everything. My mother’s mental health issues, my husband’s immaturity not to mention his wandering eye! I want to leave, I stand up “Thank’s for the advice”, I stutter “I will try to be better”. “Vicky wait he implores please sit, five more minutes after all you have paid for my time”. I sit back down “Okay, but then I’m going” I say. Dave looks at me earnestly “Vicky the last card shows your deep unhappiness, I liken your life to a roller coaster every time there is an up there is also a plunging down”. “In actual fact this will always be the case for you”. Some people have years of sadness or happiness”. He continues “You Vicky, will have snapshots of joy only, so you have to grab them when you can”. “You may have an hour here, a day there not measured years of happiness” he says. I stand up abruptly “Right Dave thanks I will remember what you have said”. I rush past Sarah “Come on I need to get home”. Sarah gushes all the way home “oh my god Vicky he knew so much, he told me my Nanna is looking down on me and I am making her proud” she is sniffling away. I am glad she has got some comfort from tonight. “What did he tell you?, you were in there for an hour and a half”. What! Was I? I check the time she’s right. 

“Oh not much stuff I already knew, he said me and Lee wouldn’t get divorced which is good . When I married him it was for life”. Sarah carries on twittering on about how wonderful Dave is and so insightful she drops me off at home. The lights are out Lee and the kids must be in bed, I slip in quietly and go into the kitchen. I sit at the breakfast bar and the tears start to fall, before I know it my body is racked with quite sobs. It’s not fair! I rail to myself why am I not allowed to be happy? It’s a basic human need to feel belonging, acceptance and love. Oh well Vicky I tell myself just get on with it your life could be worse, according to Dave it wont get any better. I chuckle to myself and dry my eyes and go to bed. 

A lot has changed in the last twenty years. I am divorced from Lee, turns out he had wandering hands too and was cheating with anyone that would have him. Its been turbulent to say the least it was not an easy process. Lee wanted to have his cake and eat it. When I started divorce proceedings his nasty angry side came out. My mother is still alive but no longer part of my life. Self preservation really and I did not want my kids to grow up with all the distress and hurt my mother inflicts on others. I am still battling to get through most days. I have met a new man who builds me up and supports me instead of tearing me down. My kids are doing well, they are amazing and challenging in equal measures. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I have come to terms with Dave’s assessment of my life, I no longer rail against the things he told me. I have recently held up a metaphorical mirror to myself. I now understand that my life is far from simple, there are good times bad times and downright awful times.

As the years pass the good times have increased in duration. The Joy my kids bring me, the feeling of worthiness furthering my education has give me. Its most definitely a roller coaster ride. The ups are as extreme as the lows, there are days when I think what is the point? I have been to the brink with those dark thoughts. I am still here battling on, holding on the rails for dear life sometimes waiting to get off. I grab those moments of happiness wherever and whenever I can. Sometimes I screw it up in a spectacular fashion and cause my own brand of mayhem, Sometimes I am the port in the storm. I am not perfect but I am enough and that will do for now. As for Dave I would love to go back and get a new reading but I’ve never been able to find him. The house he lived in has gone and there is a factory in its place. I haven’t seen Sarah for years as she moved abroad with work we message from time to time and she is doing well and happy. The moral of the story I suppose is I learnt to live with the things I couldn’t change. I found a new perspective on my life and the acceptance has actually set me free in some ways. So thank you Dave for starting on that journey with a dose of the truth.