In the eternal darkness that is a winter midnight, I threw all my suspicions to the wind and consulted a false prophet. I’ve been lonely as of late, waiting for a knight—any knight—even one riding by in tarnished armor on a sickly nag, to stop for me. The mood was just right for me to be properly duped into thinking I was Venus.
In a moment of weakness I believed him for just a second. Oh, I could have Adonis, because he wanted me too. You know about the Indian prince I crave? Within my grasp says this wise man. And that Christian boy who briefly met my eyes while handing out fliers for a prayer group I had no intention of ever attending, he was crazy about me. From one short-lived glance. That was the power this soothsayer made me believe I had in the dark of the night. It didn’t end there. The one I’m almost ashamed to want, the one most unattainable to me in the cosmic sense, he desires Venus as well. Then the tone changes, and this dress-up Tiresias tells me about myself, things I guess I just didn’t know. My greatest fear, he tells me, is success. In that moment, instead of questioning his connection with the hereafter, I questioned myself in defeat. For the last eight years of my life, there’s been nothing more terrifying to me than failure, and here this wolf in sheep’s clothing is telling me the exact opposite. Maybe I do fear it, in some small way, success means maturing, and though I’ve waited forever to grow up, it frightens me just a little. So I continued sitting in on this unsettling séance.
In a second it all changes and my new God tells me the most cutting of truths. With one word, one name, I am shaken to the core. After months of shoving it down into the darkest recesses of my mind, moving on in the only way I know how, this secret Judas speaks the taboo word. “Gabriel.” It has taken me so long to get to this point, to not think constantly about the angel Gabriel and the gaping hole he left in my chest. I got drunk off the hint of the otherworldly hanging in the air, and left myself vulnerable to the musings and guesses of a wannabe soothsayer. Oh what dangerous spells he weaves with such chance words! As soon as he spoke of Gabriel, that hole in my chest opened up again and began to throb as painfully and emptily as before. What fated words! Why couldn’t that pretend Nostradamus just reach into my caved-in chest and squeeze my still beating heart into submission, into defeat? Because, in truth, he knew not what he said. My stone face, my stone heart, revealed nothing. For all that this traitor knew, he wasn’t hitting any real mark. However, knowing what I do now about his covert methods, it pains me deeply that Tiresias dared bring it up.
In the bitterest twist of fate, that false prophet broke my heart. Feeling used, feeling betrayed, I stepped out into that winter night with a masquerade smile on my face. I laughed through the pain, the exquisite hurt, because I didn’t want this faux Nostradamus to see just how sad I was, just how affected I truly was. Today I went to his altar, to make a sacrifice … all my skepticism for one answer. Just about to plunge the dagger into my sacrificial lamb, the false prophet shows up, unaware of the dagger, the sacrifice, the sadness and death. Looking deep into the eyes of my dress-up soothsayer as he reveals the cunning with which he managed to pull the wool over my most skeptical eyes, a cry begs to be loosened from my lips. But my face is carved of granite, and my throat is paralyzed. Tiresias used me, used what pathetic scraps of my pained, teenage story he had from my own mouth to break me down. He takes off his mask, his cape, and his voice raises to a tone much closer to my own. I’m looking not at a false prophet at all, but rather a pretend prophetess … The dear friend of my soul, using my own foolish words and dreams against me.