‘What do you mean there’s someone around you for a relationship?’ Catherine barks down the phone, all hard edges and elder-sibling superiority. ‘I thought you were off men?’
‘So did I, but Amethyst told me fate has other ideas.’
‘You can’t be serious?’
‘Of course I’m serious. My Anahata was quite badly out of sync. Amethyst picked up on it when she was rebalancing my chakras.’
‘Oh, for God’s sake. Your Ana-what?’
‘My Anahata—heart chakra.’ I realise Catherine isn’t the best person to share my news with. She hates this sort of stuff, even though I’ve explained a thousand times that Amethyst is a qualified energetic and spiritual healer. ‘He’s hovering in my auric field, waiting for me to notice him.’ Now I’ve started I’m like a train gathering speed.
‘Of course he is.’ Catherine’s sarcasm curls her words like they’re old paper. ‘So who is it?’
‘Not absolutely sure yet, I still need to figure that out. But according to Amethyst, there will be signs. I just need to stay tuned in enough to notice them.’
Amethyst had also said to me, ‘Oh, and my guides are telling me that it will help if you keep your head up. You need to look him in the eye, that’s how you’ll connect with him.’ I think better of sharing that last bit with Catherine—definitely one spiritual step too far for her.
‘Holy mother of God.’
Maybe I should have stopped a step before.
‘Naturally, my Sahasrara—that’s my crown chakra, Catherine—had gone berserk …’
‘That wouldn’t be the only thing.’
Higher ground, I remind myself. ‘With my Sahasrara whirring at a million miles an hour, my mind scrolled through the obvious potentials.’
I don’t give Catherine the details: Desmond at work—absolutely no trouble looking him in the eye, although a 49-year-old finance officer who still lives with his mother is hardly relationship material. Jack, my morning barista—definitely not—he’s delightful and we’ve certainly got a connection, but under no circumstances should coffee ever get complicated. Bruce the courier who always asks for me when he comes in to work—sweet but unfortunately not with that halitosis … perhaps if I got him some Listerine—no, not a good way to start a relationship and I’d only find his lisp annoying after a while anyway.
‘Did you come up with anyone?’ Catherine’s voice is tight with exasperation. I’d suggest meditation but know that now isn’t the time.
‘Initially, no. But then waiting for the bus I had a spiritual epiphany.’
‘You mean you thought of who it might be.’
‘No, I mean a spiritual epiphany! Clear as day, a vision of the guy from Putney Gourmet Green Grocer appeared on my psychic relationship radar.’
‘What makes you think it could be him?’
Oh Catherine, it is so not to do with thinking. That’s the whole point of it being a spiritual epiphany. I opt for the path of least resistance. ‘I don’t mean to be presumptuous, but I’ve seen him watching me as I go by his shop some mornings. His eyes follow me.’
‘So, what’s he like? What’s his name?’
‘Well, he’s, um, he’s … OK, here’s the thing. I haven’t actually ever spoken to him, and as for his name, I’m not too sure of that either. I just know him as the Singing Fruitologist—for obvious reasons.’
‘I can’t believe you’re wasting your money paying some crackpot psychic to tell you that crap.’
‘Amethyst is not a crackpot psychic. She’s a qualified professional, remember! Besides, destiny doesn’t concern itself with details.’
‘Whatever. I just think you’d be better off putting your money towards something practical rather than trying to catch smoke. You need to think about your future …’
Spare me! One of Catherine’s boringly sensible lectures is the last thing I need. Not that I blame her; astrologically she’s a Capricorn—they’re obsessed with stability in all its forms, particularly financial.
‘Thirty-five is hardly ready to be living for my retirement plan.’ I don’t bother retaliating to the jibe about my four uncompleted degrees that she throws in every time. Some people take a while to find their groove. None of those degrees were really me. What is me are my Mandarin studies that I’ve ‘fluffed around with at evening college for years’ (as Catherine put it). I would formalise them but it’s not that easy on top of full-time work.
‘And if you do want a relationship maybe you could do something where you’re likely to meet someone you share an interest with. Getting to know them first might be a good idea, Fiona.’
‘It’s Kismet! Six months. It’s six months since I took my spiritual name and you still can’t get it right. Honestly, I don’t know why you and Mum have such a problem with it. And Dad, it’s like he hasn’t got a clue.’
‘Excuse us if we haven’t managed to break the habit of a lifetime in six short months. Look, I haven’t got time to argue about that now, Brian will be home from work soon and I still haven’t started dinner.’
It’s 6.05pm. Catherine will be striding from her Ikea kitchen breakfast bar to the Duck Egg Cream wall (I lived through the colour charts) where their family organiser hangs to check how far behind schedule she is. In approximately ten steps she’ll reach the ‘bible’ that holds all the manoeuvres of the military-style operation that is their life. She’s probably a good three-and-a-half minutes behind by now.
Before either Catherine or I have the chance to say anything more, Brian’s words rise over the echo of their front door thudding closed. ‘Catherine, where are you? I have a surprise for my darling wife.’
‘Gotta go. Bye!’ Catherine rushes off, leaving my love for the kids still forming into words on my tongue.
What was I thinking? Catherine really doesn’t have a clue. She probably thinks the spiritual path is a new style of pavers available at Bunnings.
Maybe Catherine’s right. My self-doubt is there before I’ve even opened my eyes to the bright January Saturday morning. She usually is—Catherine was busy being right before I was even born.
Once I’ve intention set, done my You Can Heal Your Life affirmations, a heart-opening chant and a quick ‘powering up for positivity’ meditation, I flick on my radio. With Triple J to keep me upbeat, I open the back door and settle down at the kitchen table to create my Action Plan to Improve my Life list. I start with the heading, as good a place as any.
Fifteen minutes later I’m still coming up blank when a gust of wind bursts in and whips the list off the table. Until now the morning has been deathly still. That has to be one of the signs Amethyst was talking about.
Back in my bedroom, I fossick around the bottom of my wardrobe until I find the heart-shaped box of Lovers’ Oracle cards that my dear friend Stephanie gave me three years ago. Hope restored, I rip the plastic off the box, close my eyes and focus my energy on manifesting the perfect card as I shuffle. When the moment feels right, I pick a card, open my eyes, and shazam: Romance—Cupid’s arrow strikes.
‘No time to waste. Destiny awaits!’ as Amethyst would say.
I’m about to rush out the door—in as much of a rush as changing three times, doing my make-up twice, curling my eyelashes four times and brushing my hair in every direction to add body allows—when I hear the whoop, whoop,whoop of my phone. A call from my mother. No one else warrants the emergency alarm ringtone. Although Catherine is getting there.
There’s no way I’m answering it. One of Mum’s special Bev-style interventions—a Mumtervention—trying to save me from myself and my ‘whimsical acts and witchy-woman moon-worshipping pursuits’ (her words) is the last thing I need right now. I’ll be bashing my head against the wall before I can say, ‘I’ll have some raspberries, tomatoes and you, thanks,’ to the Singing Fruitologist.
Mum wouldn’t understand that, as a Taurean, I don’t do whimsical anyway.
Two hundred and five steps later, I’m looking at a sign that reads Putney Gourmet Green Grocer—Purveyor of Putney’s Finest Fresh Produce since 1963. My heart is beating so hard it could burst out of my chest and land on the other side of the street. I take a moment—something as monumental as meeting my destiny cannot be rushed—then step inside. Manfred Mann’s ‘Blinded by the Light’ is on the radio. Positive—it’s tuned to the fruitologist’s preferred Retro FM. Negative—I can’t hear anyone singing along.
I walk between the produce—a panther could only dream of my stealth. In my ‘focussed on the Singing Fruitologist’ state I can’t think of anything I actually need. I really should have made a list to give this mission a more natural feel. I throw some mixed greens into a bag, put a punnet of strawberries in my basket—a nice romantic choice of fruit—but then take them out. What if he sees them and thinks I’m buying them for a passionate evening with a special someone?
I’m heading towards the deli section at the rear of the shop when I hear the storeroom door open. I duck behind a towering display of pumpkins. I’m not at all prepared for this. I could be mistaken for a human pin cushion, the way every single hair on my body is standing on end. I have no idea what I’m going to do or say if I do see him. ‘Hello, you don’t know me but I think you’re destined to be my next relationship,’ could be a bit too full on for our first conversation—and where would we go from there?
Up on my tippy-toes, I peer through the display to the storeroom door. Half of me is willing the Singing Fruitologist to come out, while the other half is tied up in the critical task of willing a badly balanced pumpkin to stay in place.
‘Frankie’s just texted me, he’s not coming in,’ a guy who isn’t the Singing Fruitologist announces as he emerges from the storeroom.
Frankie? That must be the Singing Fruitologist’s name—he’s the only regular missing. Or perhaps they’ve just nicknamed him that after Frank Sinatra.
But maybe this means the Singing Fruitologist isn’t the one. Surely if it’s meant to be, he would have been here, waiting for fate to deliver me?