Originally posted on FB, 6 July 2018
• Written by Lesa Quale Ferguson•

For my 15th birthday, I treated myself to an astrological chart reading for $100, earned through countless babysitting hours at 75 cents an hour. The astrologer, advertising on local bulletin boards, met me at Big Al’s in Ashland, OR, a burger joint near my house. In addition to the 100 bucks, I treated this long-haired, sun-bleached man to French fries.

Here was the reader of my stars. Believing I would be a star on stage and screen, I wish I had been more curious about turning those lofty dreams into reality and whether reality would turn them into stardust. Had my protostar been charted at birth, could it withstand fusion? In the tumult of my adolescent mind, body, and spirit, I worried less about ambition and more about romance.

Would I find my true love? Would I get married and have babies? My roiling hormones couldn’t see beyond the fog of my insecurity. Acting was something I did, but procreation? That was the mystery. Here before me, chowing French fries at Big Al’s, was the man who could rise above the clouds to see the heavens.

He pointed to the papers between us with his greasy fingertips, explaining moons and houses—mainly my 9th and 12th, shadowed until later in life. He said that while I appeared spirited and creative, the heavens had locked me inside one of those houses, and many years would pass before I emerged.

“What?” I had no idea what that meant. “Yeah, yeah, but what about falling in love and children?”

“Eventually, that is what I am trying to tell you. You will be older.”

My heart sank. I tried deciphering the pages filled with circles and numbers now flecked with fry crust. “So, like when I am 25?”

“Oh no, older than that. The chart suggests nearer to 40.”

Disappointment flooded my system as I thought, “So, like, when I am dead.” I could feel the emotion and the tears stinging my eyes. I stood up to leave.

“Don’t go. I have so much more to say.”

I didn’t want to hear anymore. Forty? Forty! That was five years into the next millennium. I had to wait for the next century to have sex and be loved, to have that love turn into a child? Already, I felt as if I was waiting millennia for the next kiss. This joker was the purveyor of patience and fortune? Screw that. At 40, I would be either dead or a whole different person.

The last thing I heard him say before the door to Big Al’s swung closed was, “It’s not bad. You do get what you want.”

Today, 37 years later, my mother sent me a picture of her and my 12-year-old son Sam at Big Al’s. I gave birth to him at 40 in Buffalo, NY. He and my mom were on vacation in Ashland. As I studied the picture, I wondered if this story had a parallel dimension. What if my 15-year-old self could see the future, not in an astrology chart but through the doors of Big Al’s? A ghostly version of my son and mother would walk in. I would immediately recognize my mom despite her grey hair. Once I recognized her, I would intuit who Sam was. He might even slip me a note from my Nana, who used to say: “All Good Things Come to Those Who Wait.”

I don’t know what difference this parallel universe would have made other than the peace of mind since Sam was born. My anxiety about love and the future settled. I stopped worrying about the stars because every day he has been alive has been better for it. He, his father, and his brother were worth the wait. And the wait wasn’t blank, drab, or without romance.

Before thermonuclear fusion begins, there’s the Hayashi track, a period of violent surface activity and protostellar winds. It’s a formidable phase in star-making, but when it’s over, your star is finally formed and charted. That track of time varies for every star. Astrology doesn’t account for that. I wish I had enough peace of mind back then to hear the guy out and get my 100 dollars’ worth.

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Lesa Quale Ferguson

Writer + Picture Taker ^ Image-Maker & Design Web-ber #Ma

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