“I’m Jimmy the Gypsy. I’m from Ireland,” a man with faded tattoos down his arms and a toothless grin tells me as I sit in the grass of Jubilee Gardens watching the London Eye during the 2015 Festival of Love in Southbank.
“I’m a psychic,” he goes on. He and his friend had just finished smoking a joint. I was trying to enjoy my cider alone on this hot day in London. I knew it was risky sitting on this part of the grass so close to these two characters, but almost every inch of space was taken elsewhere by people lounging in the warm day out by the water.
“I’m not interested. I’d just like to be by myself right now,” I tell him.
A few minutes later, he turns around again, sprawled out in the grass under the shade of the tree. The London Eye moves in slow circles in front of us. The water of the Thames sparkles.
“There’s a woman on your shoulder. She watches out for you.”
I try not to listen. Not to engage. I sip my cider.
“She worries about you. She wants you to find love,” he goes on. I can’t help but be interested. Is he talking about my grandmother, Tutu, who passed away about five years before? A woman who I considered more like a mother than just a grandmother. I had also been dumped two days before and the message about finding love had me hooked.
He asks me to show him my hand. Well, if he wants to read my fortune for free, who am I to stop him, I naively think.
I show him my palm.
He tells me I shouldn’t look for love in empty wells and that there are too many people draining me emotionally in my life. That I am a moon child and I have five good moon child friends and don’t need more than that. I will come into some money in the next two years, big money. I will have many children, three girls and one boy. This makes me nervous, that’s two children too many, an Indian palm reader told me something similar and I gulp. That’s another story.
He drops my hand. “What do I think that fortune was worth?” he asks.
I have absolutely no money. I only just arrived the day before and hadn’t visited an ATM yet. I tell him this but he doesn’t believe me. I start worrying about Irish gypsy curses. I hand him my cider. “I have this. You can have the rest.”
He pauses for a second, thinking about it. He takes the cider from my hand and gulps it down in one quick sip then throws the empty cup to the grass angrily.
I zip up my boots and jump up from the shade. I don’t want to stick around to see him give me the evil eye and I run away to meet my Afternoon Tea Tour bus.
I try not to feel bad.
Two years later, I find some things interesting. I did lose some friendships in the last years. Friendships that I wish I hadn’t lost but that I needed to let go as they weren’t healthy for me. I did find love. I haven’t seen any of that big money yet or babies.
I also ponder how the fortune shapes the future by the choices you make knowing it. He had also told me I would be with a man with dark curly hair, and he made a gesture that the man would make of sweeping his hair out from his eyes. Jimmy specifically said he saw that man would do that gesture. I dated a man for three months who did just that. He did it early on and I sometimes wonder if I only dated him because of that, even when I knew it was wrong, even when I knew we weren’t right for each other. Would I have wasted that time if I didn’t think it was meant to be? I can’t say, I can’t see the future like that. But I can say, I’m much happier now without the dark haired man who tucked the hair out of his eyes with his left hand.
As we circle around the carousel of a new year with a lot of unknowns, what do we want the future to hold? What parts do we want to shape ourselves? What do we want revealed to us? What do we want to keep mystical and unknown? How can we change things in front of us that seem unchangeable? How can we shift the story the cards are laying out?
My New Year’s wish for you all is to shape your own future, to do what you can to make this world a better place for all, to find your moon children friends and your place of love and happiness within the world.
Happy New Year and kind wishes for 2017!