I have a confession to make. I'm a little obsessed with horoscopes. Just not in the way you're probably thinking. I don't live my life by them. I don't believe the people that write them possess some bizarre ability to predict your future based on what time of the year you were born. I don't believe that specific star signs share characters traits and that Mercury being in retrograde is a real thing. Actually I don't even know what Mercury being in retrograde means.
I love horoscopes because they are like crazy off-kilter versions of micro fiction with the potential for so much more. Each one, even if it's only a few sentences, feels like a tiny narrative. A real live story, with this big crazy back story that - and this is the best part - you can interpret any way you like! Everything is so general and open-ended, it could mean absolutely anything and still make sense. So, I've started working on this little project, where I take horoscopes from where I can find them, pull one line and create a little flash fiction around it. It's a fun, entertaining pastime that fills in the hours between Serial podcasts and re-readings of The Secret Garden.
And I thought I might start sharing them with you here.
Hope you like!
Your fantasy world is piqued today, Aries. Your imagination is running wild. Maintain a certain amount of control over your emotions or they may get the better of you. You could find yourself in a cloud of confusion by afternoon. Avoid this by making an effort to ground yourself throughout the day. Make sure your actions result from an equal balance between thought and emotion.
My imagination is running wild. I’m sitting in a busy cafe, my tea going cold, waiting for her to show up. I check my watch, twenty minutes late. I check my phone, my Twitter, my Facebook, my Instagram - no message. I imagine a train wreck, she was catching the train in right? Or was she driving, in that case an accident. I check the local news sites, scrolling through breaking news - nothing.
The waiter approaches, the cafe is full, he probably wants my table. He smiles, but I can see the pity under his full lips and perfectly white teeth. I wonder if he is an actor, they look like actor teeth.
‘Can I get you anything else?’ he asks.
The underlying message is palpable, can you please leave, I have customers who will take up both seats and order more than a cup of tea.
I shake my head, no.
‘Just the bill please,’ I say.
Relief floods his face and another pity smile forms on his full lips.
I reach into the pocket of my jacket and pull out some coins. How much can this cup of tea be?
The waiter with the lips and the teeth returns. He places the bill on the table and smiles again. More pity.
Five dollars for a cup of tea. I shake my head. I place the coins on the bill and begin gathering my things. I shrug into my jacket and gulp the last of my now cold tea. For five dollars I won’t leave any behind.
I feel my phone buzz in my pocket: it’s her.
'On my way!! Sorry!!!! Please wait!!'
Too late. She’s always too late.
I walk out of the cafe into the street. If she’s walking she’ll be coming from the left. I go right. My imagination is silent now. I should have known. You can’t trust someone who uses that many exclamation marks.