A Psychic Told Me Exactly How My Life Would Play Out, Starting With an Abortion
I run my fingers across the blue lettering that reads ‘Clear Blue Pregnancy Test’. It’s 8:53. I’ll have to wait another whole minute until the pregnancy test reveals the answer. I’m going to bring a baby into this world with a boy who sleeps on a pullout couch and smokes bongs for breakfast.
The psychic’s advice shoots through my brain: “When this happens, you should probably get an abortion.”
This boy can’t even afford to buy me dinner, let alone his half of terminating our unwanted pregnancy. In the few weeks I’ve known him, he’s only replied to about half of my text messages. I desperately hope that the one saying “I’m pregnant” will compel him to respond. I rub my fingers against my temples. For someone who’s been told how their entire life will play out, I sure am shocked every time something like this happens.
I grew up in small town in Victoria beside the Southern Ocean. Ever since I was a child, I’d heard rumours of the witch: a woman who could see anyone’s future, cast spells and who, I assumed, owned a black cat and a broomstick. There were whispers around town that she’d solved a murder, found a missing child, predicted a friend-of-a-friend’s marriage and the death of a loved one. As I got older, I became more intrigued by the witch’s powers.
The year I turned 21, it all fell apart. The boy I loved couldn’t love anything more than he loved smoking methamphetamines. I dropped out of university and had somehow become an artist who didn’t create any art. Stuck in a cycle of drugs and men who were attracted to broken women, I didn’t know what to do. In search of direction from someone who wasn’t my therapist (he reeked of body odour and was convinced mindfulness could solve anything), a witch seemed like the next logical step.
Tracking down a witch, even in a small town in Victoria, is no easy feat. I found the dodgy Facebook page where she took appointments, paid the $200 and then had to wait six months for her next available booking. I was earning minimum wage, so it was a serious chunk of money, but I was intrigued.
Six months later, my car groaned in pain as I tried to accelerate up a slight incline. I prayed it wouldn’t give up half way as I didn’t want to explain to anyone where I was heading. I tried to keep my eyes focused on the road, ignoring the bubbling feeling of fear building in my stomach. As I pulled into a dead end street my Google Maps told me I had arrived.
Her house was a small cottage nestled between towering eucalyptus trees. The overgrown garden was covered in figurines of gnomes and fairies that had been bleached by the harsh coastal sun. I instinctively pulled out a cigarette to pass the 10 minutes until it was time for me to go inside. My hand shook violently as I tried to light the end. As always, inhaling the tar into my lungs filled me with a fleeting sense of calm. As I looked around the street, I wondered if her neighbours knew what was going on inside. I never knew a cottage could be so menacing.
I knocked firmly on the door, trying to portray a false aura of confidence. “Wait outside!” a strong feminine voice boomed back at me. I stood perfectly still and listened to the noises of chairs shifting and objects being shuffled around inside. The door finally swung open and the witch met my eyes. She was short, late 50s with hair dyed a bright purple. She confirmed that my name was Jess and then ushered me inside to take a seat.
The room was dark. It contained nothing but a small round table with two chairs. The smell of stale incense burned my nostrils. We sat down opposite each other, her face lit by a single flickering candle. She appeared to be weighing me up like an opponent in a particularly heated game of poker. Her slender hand reached across the table, her long fingernails filed into talons.
She grasped a deck of tarot cards in her hands and began to shuffle them with wild intensity. Handing the cards to me I was asked to “transfer my energy into the deck”. After an uncomfortably long time of shuffling, she took back the cards and started dealing them onto the table. She took my sweaty shaking hand and, with that, the fortune-telling began.
Without me speaking a single word, she walked me through my life, starting with my parents’ broken condom, their hasty wedding, my mother’s ambition and my father’s substance abuse and mental health problems. She detailed their subsequent divorce, my mother’s failed relationships and my father’s ongoing legal battle (which, I later learned, she predicted the outcome down to the smallest detail). She looked straight into my eyes and, as if she couldn’t see the tears of shock streaming down my face, she said, “Your Father isn’t capable of love”. The weight of her statement didn’t faze her. She went on to tell me that I would never receive the validation I was seeking from him and the best course of action would be to cut him out of my life completely.
The mood shifted as she pulled a new card from the deck. She looked up at me with a confused expression on her face and asked me, “Are you on any birth control?”. This was important, she explained, because I am the most fertile person this woman had ever come across. She told me of the baby boy with blonde hair and blue eyes whose spirit followed me everywhere. “He wants to be born more than anything…You will be pregnant within the next two years”.
Her advice to me was to get an abortion.
My vision went blurry as a panic attack tightened its hold around my neck. She told me in detail about the father. A boy I met 11 months later in a crowded bar when he told me I had the most beautiful eyes he had ever seen and then asked me if I wanted a line of his cocaine. “If you miss a single day of birth control, you will be pregnant.”
“Do you want to know about the man you’re going to marry?” She seemed to take my wide eyes full of panic as a yes. He’s older than me, tall, and, most importantly, a writer. We’ll meet at work and will hit it off immediately. She told me of our three children and our upper-middle-class life in the Melbourne suburbs. A feeling of relief filled me. Finally, something somewhat positive.
“There’s only one problem with your marriage and it’s a big one”.
We stared at each other for what seemed like an eternity until she continued.
“Your husband will have an amazing career writing novels … you will be bitter for the rest of your life, as this is something you will never get to do.”
I never told this woman about my dreams of being a novelist. She didn’t know that I once studied creative writing or that from six years old I sat at the family computer writing about make-believe lands. She told me that I will devote my entire life to making this man’s babies. I will always be the woman ripping herself in half for a man. Like my mother and her mother before her.
A single line appears on the pregnancy test. I’m not pregnant. Taking in a deep breath, my entire body relaxes. The visions of raising a baby with a boy who constantly smells of bong water and McDonalds’ grease slowly fades from my mind. Having watched the witch’s prophecies come true countless times, a newfound hope overcomes me. Maybe she got this one wrong? Or maybe next time, the test will be positive.
There isn’t a doubt in my mind that this woman has legitimate powers. I will watch my father’s legal battle crumble, meet the boy she described in perfect detail and see my life move in the direction she predicted. But knowing all of this, I choose to bury the test deep into the bin where no one will see it.