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The Cards Know Things

There’s a lot going on in my life right now. I’m sure most people can say something to this effect, but I’m really feeling it lately. To make this post sort of short and accessible, I won’t go into heavy details, but two of my friends got married last weekend; I was a part of the wedding as a bridesman. Okay, damn it, I love sharing details, so I promise I’ll post about the wedding a little later. For now, I just wanna give a quick flyover of my life.

Work is unstable. My current job is only guaranteed until November, at which point, I don’t know what I’ll do. I’m not great at looking for work. Hell, to be honest, I’m in the burgeoning anti-work camp. I don’t mind labor, to build and make things that are important to me, but schlepping it for other people is a bit harder to justify … don’t get me wrong, I actually really enjoy what I’m doing right now, and I hope I can do it beyond the end of this month. Anyway, that’s my quick summary of work: things are up in the air, and my job is quite the opposite of secure.

Then there’s the social life. I mentioned my friends’ wedding. My old friend Jack Jones, whom I’ve known since 1998, married my new friend Alyssa, who’s known Jack since they had a spectacular first date and bonded over metal music, Lord of the Rings, and all the nerdy things that have shaped Jack’s life over the years. It’s like they’re made for each other, and their bond is fantastic. I was blessed with the privilege of standing on Alyssa’s side of the aisle as a bridesman, to help round out each side (the couple moved to Reno, which brought Jack back home and thrust Alyssa into a new place … so Jack has a lot more family and friends who are readily available to join his wedding party, but I digress, this is a parenthetical for Christ’s, I mean Chris’s sake). To summarize the wedding extravaganza, I cried a lot, I laughed a lot, and I danced my legs into Jell-O. It was a fucking lovely time, and I’m sitting here wishing it could have lasted longer, even after I spent the last few nights exhausted after the festivities and falling asleep almost as soon as I hit the pillow.

Okay, but this post isn’t supposed to cover the wedding … I’ll get to that. This post covers other, darker subjects. On top of my work life being highly unstable, there’s some holdover drama from some decisions I made … I suffered some pretty severe burnout over the last half a year or so. It was a struggle to even turn on my work laptop most days. I actually stepped back from doing any work for a few weeks. I don’t think I kept an accurate record of time, to be honest.

What I do know is that, I spent a whole week of my work absence diving into a video game. As in, I spent a disgusting amount of time playing that game. For a whole week – seven days in a row. I spent a whole week binging the game, then I purged it from my system. I played it less and less over the next two weeks, until I stopped playing it completely. I know how it sounds … I’m pretty sure I’m addicted to video games, or at the very least, I go through addictive phases. Binging and purging is a cycle followed by folks who are not very healthy, emotionally or mentally. I was binging and purging video games. I have been for a long while.

I mention this episode, in brief, because I fear that I upset some people who are using it against me now. And, well, they’re not in the wrong … I made life hard for most of my colleagues when I just stopped showing up to work. They suffered, a lot, because of my cowardice. And yes, that weeklong binge didn’t help me come back to the fold … but it’s not like I spent the whole summer binging games. It was one week. One extreme week. I like to believe that my gaming habits are more leveled out now.

But, the thought that people may be leveraging that extreme week against me is a frightening thought. So yesterday, October 4th (a Monday), I decided to take a day to recuperate from the stress and the anxiety and the sheer joy of the big wedding weekend. I wanted to ignore the shit mounting against me. But I also wanted to get more in tune with my spiritual side. So I picked up my deck of Tarot cards and asked “What can I expect today?”

I shuffled and drew the top card: The Tower, upright. Oh fuck.

The Tower signifies violent change, not always harmful, but a big paradigm shift; at the time, I just thought “Oh, maybe it’s just all these different stressors combining to push me a certain way. Change and all, right?” I was so wrong.

I checked the bottom of the deck, because some people believe that the bottommost card reveals another aspect of your answer, sometimes your mental or emotional state, or a deeper level of understanding – it all depends on the question and the answer.

The bottommost card was another significant and moody card: the Five of Cups, reversed. Typically, the Five of Cups represents regret, disappointment, and failure. Pretty spot-on, considering all the shit I’d been going through as far as careers, finances, and dreams were concerned … I’d messed up, and I continued to mess up. But wait, the Five of Cups was reversed … so I consulted the guidebook that came with my deck, and got these buzzwords: news, alliances, affinity, ancestry, return, false projects. Huh, okay. I wasn’t sure what to make of it all, but I had some errands to run. I stopped by the bank, then headed to Jack and Alyssa’s house: they left for Hawaii on their honeymoon, and I was watching their cats and plants while they were gone.

I got to their house and took my sweet time. I checked on the kitties, gave them some good scritches, and made myself a cup of coffee. Then, in the relative peace of their dining room, I pulled out my journal and my pen to write down my thoughts and feelings regarding the last four or five days. I found myself laughing while I relived all the great moments from the night before the wedding, the day of the wedding itself, all the smiling and crying and dancing, and the joy that came from such a great group of friends … then my phone rang.

I don’t like it when my phone rings. I don’t like talking on the phone unless I really know the other person. This caller was my aunt. From my dad’s side of the family. She had never called me before. We’d texted a little bit a few years ago, but that was it. I hadn’t seen my dad since I was nine years old.

I knew why she was calling.

I ignored the phone call and continued recording the joys of the recent past, hiding my current and near-future sadnesses in the pages of my journal. I took refuge in the smiles, and laughs, and dances of the weekend. I felt my phone vibrate about an hour later, and saw a text from my aunt. It just read “Call me when you get a chance.” I continued writing.

When I finally finished jotting down my impressions of the wedding festivities, I packed my shit, said farewell to the kitties, and drove to buy gas. My car was running dangerously low on fuel, and I needed to go to Jack and Alyssa’s place every other day to take care of things. I also needed to head to work at some point, if I even had a job still. I was also fucking hungry, so I pulled into a Del Taco drive-thru and ordered some eats.

When I pulled into the driveway at home, I saw that all our lights were on in the living room and kitchen. When I opened the front door, I heard my brother’s voice. It was strained, and he was talking on the phone. I knew he was talking to my aunt.

I knew why she was calling.

When my brother said ‘bye to my aunt and hung up, what I said was “It’s Dad, isn’t it?” In my brain what I said was “Dad’s dead, isn’t he?” Alex responded “Well, Dad’s dead.” He proceeded to explain how Dad had stopped taking medication to protect his heart, and, whether it was intentional or not, his heart gave out. He slumped forward in his seat at his apartment and died. His roommate was in the room with him. I can’t even imagine how fucking traumatic that is.

Right now, I’m not exactly speaking with my siblings. I made some comments last night that upset my brother, and my poor sister was sort of in the middle, and this is what I know: I’m sad about this, and I’m sad for me, and I’m sad for what we’ve lost, and I’m sad for my relatives, and I’m sad that I’m never brave enough to answer the phone, even when I know why the other person is calling.

I want to attend the funeral and pay my respects to my dad, despite having not seen him since I was nine years old. He was a human being, he was struggling, and he did the best he could with what little he had. We’re all in the middle of figuring out what happens next – when the funeral happens, how we all get there, how long we’ll be away. I’ll have to ask our roommate to take care of our cat. There’s a lot that’s up in the air.

But there’s one thing I know now: my Tarot cards know things that are happening, and things that are coming. The Tower, and the reversed Five of Cups, they have everything to do with the death of my dad, and the changes I and my family will undergo because of it, and the eventual moving on that we’ll all do in our own ways. Those cards told me what to expect, and I didn’t know how spot-on they were.

This is why I believe there are powers and forces beyond my sight and comprehension. There’s stuff out there that I don’t understand. I embrace it and try my best to learn about it.

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