I’ve had the privilege of being surrounded by women with strong intuitive and even psychic abilities all my life, and it took a long time to tap into my own. I didn’t get “feelings” about a person seconds before the phone would ring, a letter would arrive in the mail, or the doorbell would ring, and my mother, grandmother, aunt or cousin would squeal “but I was JUST THINKING ABOUT YOU.” I couldn’t look at people and know much about past, present or future that wasn’t a wild guess or simply told me…by them. I never seemed to see ANYTHING coming, or so I thought. These ladies seemed to possess a magical sense that I lacked, and that was fine with me, because I tended toward introversion and quiet analysis anyway. These feelings and extrasensory perceptions were beyond me, and I liked it that way. I didn’t want to be visited by dead family members, know before someone told me that they were pregnant or sick, or have dreams that materialized into reality.
I’ll fast forward a few years, because this piece isn’t about the fact that, despite my youthful denial, I also possess whatever gene or pheromone or condition produces these abilities. It scared the hell out of me when the switch flipped in my head (out of nowhere, on a long road trip with a friend, who probably never knew my entire body was overtaken by some external presence for the entire duration of a Lenny Kravitz song). I can’t tell you if you are pregnant, sickness and death take me by surprise, and thankfully the ghosts mostly leave me alone and hang out at my mom’s house, but my intuition seems concentrated in a few areas: When to take a professional opportunity, when to buy (and sell) real estate, and when HE is coming. Not HIM (I am agnostic, after all), but someone who will help me to write a chapter (or three) in my romantic journey. Ever since the age of 23, when I held on to the dashboard of that Toyota Corolla for dear life as my head spun, heart exploded and I could barely breathe while my body rode a wave of emotion that it did not create, but internalized nonetheless. The next day, I met the man I would date for 5 years and could have married at a party (had I not come to my senses before it was too late, but that’s another story). This one is about the not-so-gracious heads up I seem to get before I meet a man who will change my life, but who (so far) does NOT seem to fulfill that long-ago vision.
It’s happened three times now, though I have managed to convert the crashing wave into a vague sense of exhilaration once I have made the decision or completed the act that will bring him my way. Which is good, because it always happens when I am around other people…do you know how CRAZY a person looks when she is having a vision or a “psychic moment”? Come home with me one Christmas and you might see for yourself!
The second time it happened, I was 32. I’d met a handsome Brazilian student in a week-long class I was teaching at a corporate training center, who invited me to see his city should I ever find myself in the southern hemisphere. He and a couple of his classmates had developed a little “hot for teacher” thing, and he had confessed as much after class ended on that Friday (because I wasn’t his teacher anymore, he said). That is also a story for another time, because this one is about intuition, not about how some of us need to get out of our own way when it comes to experiencing how men of the world really see Black women! Anyway, a couple weeks after this completely innocent encounter (I promise), I found myself showing my best friend the picture slideshow he’d emailed me of the best places to see in Rio. I told her that it might sound crazy, because people invite people to visit them all the time and everyone understands that it is not to be taken seriously, but I felt compelled to go… alone if need be. Without missing a beat, she said “do it, you won’t regret it.” As my fingers went through the motions of booking an online plane ticket, that exhilarating warm, buzz formed in my gut, and I knew that it was going to be a bit more intense than getting my Girl from Ipanema on for 6 days. You might be thinking this is where the loose ends tie up with Mr. Carioco, but it turned out that he was simply the catalyst that ushered in a very different chemical reaction between me and an English gentleman on holiday, whom I met the very first night when he and his mate sat down next to me and my friend at dinner. He is the one who snapped the picture of me in my BB&W avatar on our sunset trip up to see Christ the Redeemer, and there that I acknowledged the truth of this quote by one of the greatest poets to put pen to page, Kahlil Gibran:
“And think not you can direct the course of love, for love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course.”
Still: this is a story about intuition, not a tale about how taking a small leap of faith can lead to the literal restoration of your faith in mankind after losing it for several years.
And now, to the third introduction of The Significant Other at age 35, the needle-iest needle in the haystack there ever was. On a whim, I’d placed an ad to see if someone SANE wanted to go out to a movie or dancing on a Saturday night, and no matter how clearly I communicated that it was not a euphemism for a hook-up, still ended up engaging the usual bottom-feeding lunatics, rinsed the disgust off in the shower, and made it a Netflix evening. But I forgot to take my ad down, and on the following Monday afternoon an email reply to my Craigslist ad appeared in my inbox. I saw his screen name and the little paper clip indicating what I hoped was a picture of his FACE was attached. Before I even opened the email, my heart whispered over the flashing and buzzing: Statuesque, he matters. When my eyes met his for the first time, I gasped out loud, causing my co-worker (and now close friend) to look up in curiosity. I beckoned her over to my screen because I couldn’t express a coherent thought. She took one look at him and said “oh my God that is the most beautiful man I’ve ever seen. Is he real?” Though it felt at the time that I had conjured him out of thin air, he was very real, very sane and very much intrigued by a nameless and faceless Black woman who may have already found her salsa date, but thought he’d give it a shot anyway.
All of you know that I am single and yet unmarried, so this is also not a tale about how these non-menopausal hot flashes enable me to avoid the typical pitfalls of romance, and it certainly hasn’t been a happy-ever-after tale of me and the erstwhile “Mr. Statuesque” (yes, SavageTango, this is the Western guy who broke the mold I had for what men ought to be). Not even close. But if this is a story about intuition, about how a cerebral chick learned to follow the feelings, the ending has not yet been written. Lately I’ve started to get that vague sense that a change is coming, and I know what that means. What remains a mystery is whether HE will harken back to that long-ago vision of love, or help me to create something I could never picture before meeting him. I’ll be sure to let you know either way.