I have a secret interest in fortune tellers. Not the crystal-gazing ones you see at carnivals, but the ones who take one look at your date and time of birth and are able to tell you your entire life story up until the point you meet them, and then proceed to tell you what they claim to be able to see lies ahead for you.
I have met one such fortune teller, nearly three years ago. She looked at me and told me she couldn’t see beyond six months into my future, but was able to call up many things that had truly transpired in my life, as well as tell me that certain things would happen in the next six months, which they actually did.
Lately I’ve been entertaining thoughts of going back to her, to see if she saw anything differently for me. Afham thinks it’s all poppycock and twaddle, but I tell him it’s because I would like to know, however accurately, when I can finally stop wallowing in the endless uncertainty that is my life. For instance, I would like to know when I can finally stop being poor, how far I can go in my job, and if I need to prepare myself for certain unacceptable stages of life, such as motherhood. After all, I reasoned to his determinedly deaf ears, I can’t be paddling around blindly for too much longer; I’ve already been back here four years.
Yes, four years. Four years since I thought my life had ended, four years since I moved back here and struggled to find a footing that I could be comfortable with. And when I realized this morning how much time has gone by since I came back, I started to panic. Four years is dangerously close to five, a number that people use as a milestone marker or benchmark (“Where do you see yourself in five years: at the top of the food chain or the top of the Empire State Building?”), and after five, they immediately skip to ten.
I could not imagine being here for ten years, let alone still trying and failing to make something of myself after that milestone. Four years is quite enough time for me to have found some semblance of a calling by now, and even though I may have found it, there is still so much, so very much, left up in the air, and even though with each passing year I think I may be getting closer to knowing just where I stand in life, with each passing year I also feel more directionless, and more lost, than ever.
But four years have gone by. Four years that I can’t take back. And as the fifth year looms, I can’t help but wonder if whatever I’ve been trying to find was actually here in the first place, if I was supposed to come back here not to find it, but to recollect myself before setting out to look for it again.