This Rider tarot deck determined my road trip should come to an end. Some runes had a fair bit to say as well.
Not counting the divining agents, there were two us traveling. I was supposed to have spent the summer working on Block Island, but quit after two 80 hour weeks with no overtime pay. I called the health department and labor board on my boss, and he didn’t sign my paycheck. Even Steven.
So, I joined my best gal pal, P, on her road trip, already in progress. We were in our twenties, skinny and could survive without eating anything in the vegetable family for weeks on end. We mostly camped out wherever we could find, steering clear of anything that would catapult us into a Lifetime movie of the week. Dinner was box mac and cheese on a camp burner (not even a stove) with no milk or butter. We slept in a teepee in New Hampshire, on a stranger’s hotel room floor in Portland, Maine. I bought a linen napkin at a rummage sale in Vermont, and with the lace from my hiking boots, turned it into a pouch for the cards as we drove along the beaches of New Brunswick.
By the time we reached Prince Edward Island and I let her cut my hair, things were feeling pretty weird between us. She kept telling me her runes didn’t want me along anymore, but she really did. When we argued, it felt more like a boyfriend-girlfriend fight, than my best friend of almost ten years (with a year or two off). She never let me drive her car, and I had no say over where we went and when. She also read the tarot cards, and they didn’t want me along for the trip either. But, she stressed, it was only the cards, and not her.
After the incident in Newfoundland, in which I stole a plastic, hand-needlepointed napkin holder from a diner, lied to the owner and P, and was chased down miles later by the state police, I had an epiphany. As with most catharses, it came on a tide of insomnia. I lay awake all night in a lounge aboard a ferry to the mainland, pondering my immediate future. P. stayed in the car, oblivious to the farting and snoring of our fellow passengers.
We drove straight to the airport and fought bitterly as rain washed down the windshield. She begged me to stay, yet remained adamant about what the tarot decreed. I hastily threw my bongos, my liz phair mix tapes and my clothes in the closest thing I had to luggage, an airport garbage bag. Eight months later I received a box with a few shirts I left behind, hundreds of tiny beads from my anklet which had broken, which she would have had to scrape off of the filthy floor of the front seat, and the tarot cards.
I found the cards again, in the tattered bag with shoelace ties, 15 years later, in the console of a pickup truck my husband bought to tow an Airstream trailer. Our life plans changed. We sold the Airstream, in pieces, without ever taking it on a single trip.
listed on ebay, 22 July 2011