Mrs Karapatsos who lived down the hall had a thing for horoscopes. I don’t know exactly how to describe it because it was much more than a simple addiction, or a fixation. It was much more than an obsession too. She would read her horoscope every single day. And from multiple sources too, “in order to have an all-rounded idea”, as she said. She would never leave the house before having read her horoscope.
In fact, one time she recalled that she was late for a meeting at the bank, yet she couldn’t find a newspaper or magazine with the morning’s horoscope and missed the radio show reciting them, so she had all tenants on foot trying to find something that would appease her enough to get out and off to her business.
She claims she wasn’t always like this.
It all started with a strange coincidence.
You see, when she was young, she too was carefree and didn’t pay much attention to such things. Horoscopes were a thing older women believed in, she thought. She considered it a fun game and would occasionally read through hers, whenever she fell upon it. But she didn’t exactly go looking for it. And certainly did not have the “horoscope fetish” she now did. She believed it was absurd that people would read their star signs and spend the day, week, month, even year, expecting /waiting / fearing for what it said to happen.
She even looked into it once. She had an old woman living in her building and had asked her the same thing, everyone was now asking her: why do you believe in this so much?
Mrs Karapatsos received the same reply, she had now embellished: Because we all need something to believe in. Something ‘lighter’ than religion. Ever since forever people have been trying to predict the future. Horoscopes allude to offer that, even if it is only a short-term version of it. We need to feel assured that we know what to expect. That we know what is coming and are prepared for it. No matter if we are never truly prepared for anything. Let alone fate itself. But this old woman strongly believed that the stars knew something more than we did, and those who could read them gave us a glimpse of the future, and we should learn to acknowledge it.
The young Mrs Karapatsos smiled and took it all in with a glass of homemade lemonade and two freshly baked cookies. She never thought of it again. Until one particular day.
Everything was going wrong from the minute she literally got off on the wrong side of the bed. You see, she always got off on the right; it was nearer to the bathroom. But this day her phone rang and she had to get up on the left as it was closer to the table where she had placed her phone. And that is when it all began: the unexpected water shortage when she was rinsing her hair in the shower; the power cut as she touched the switch with a wet finger; the slip on the wet bathroom tiles; the curly hair and the hippy look during an important business presentation; and then, to top it all up, the car crash as she was coming home in the afternoon. It was simply a horrible day. One Murphy would look at and laugh, as it was the very embodiment of his Law.
Arriving home, exhausted, depressed and a nervous wreck, she ran into the horoscope-crazed old lady with whom she coincidentally shared the same star sign. The old lady had not gone out all day, because she said “it was not a good day for Sagittariuses”.
Intrigued with the statement, Mrs Karapatsos searched for her daily horoscope. It read: Be careful what side of the bed you get up from today. A difficult day in all aspects. Be more patient and have more courage than usual. Attention when driving.
Mrs Karapatsos was dumbfounded. Could it really be?
And well, that is pretty much how she too came to believe in “the power of the stars”.
Also part of Daily Prompt: Second-Hand Stories