20. Writing Prompt – Horoscope

She slammed her cat-shaped paperweight, its extended paw graced by a dainty butterfly, into the paper box sitting on her desk. It was followed up a flood of papers and an ‘Employee of the Month’ mug filled with half-empty pens and one dried up highlighter. The drawers were next, emptied with vicious efficiency. Finally, all that remained was a newspaper, freshly harvested that morning and the catalyst of this whole fiasco. She violently crumpled it up and threw it into the already overflowing trashcan, filled to the brim with discarded drafts of her grant proposal, all found to be lacking and incomplete.

After a frustrating few weeks of feeling tongue-tied and misunderstood, clarity (and sanity!) returns. Starting today, Mercury is back in your sign offering a rare chance to clear the air and get a project back in high gear! Between now and April 10, trust that you can speak your truth without burning any bridges.

That’s what her horoscope had said that morning, read by her purple-haired roommate, and she couldn’t deny it had a certain accuracy to it. If it wasn’t her supervisor bumping the proposal back for further edits, then it was the finance or manufacturing department changing the budget or the specifications causing a complete redraft. When more alterations and a potential revaluation of the entire framework were proposed in the weekly meeting, she had to quickly choose between losing the will to live or voicing dissatisfaction. Inspired by Astra’s infectious, purple-haired enthusiasm that the stars were on her side, she reminded them the final draft had already been submitted for edits, and if they had any hope of getting approved before the next millennia, they needed to submit as soon as possible.

The division head, identified as her archenemy to close friends behind closed doors, took the opportunity to loudly remind the entire room that this was a team effort, requiring everyone on board. In retrospect, that should have been the time to see her victory simply as the act of speaking up, achieving a moment of personal growth and character building, but her horoscope had assured her that now was the time to clear the air with no adverse effects. She calmly set aside her pen and told him in detail where he could stick his proposed changes. The only thing that ended up being cleared that day was her desk.

Unfortunately the box she had been given wasn’t big enough to carry the rest of her shattered dignity out with her, so she left it in a heap on the meeting room floor, positive she’d never need it again. The rest of the box’s contents were crammed into the back seat of her car and later roughly deposited on the couch as she slammed the door of their small apartment.

“You’re home early,” Astra called from the kitchen.

Her only answer was a loud burst of derisive laughter followed by glaring into the refrigerator. Astra, who had been typing away on her laptop covered with stickers of crescent moons and neon star signs, finally looked up.

“Whoa, I’m picking up some negative vibes here. What happened?”

Deciding organic almond milk wasn’t going to cure her woes, she slammed the door and related the vaporization of her so-called untouchable bridges.

“What’s his sign?” was Astra’s immediate response.

“How should I know?!”

Astra insisted, and she searched her memory until she recalled last spring’s stale cake and weak punch served in tiny paper cups liberated from the bathroom. An online repository of horoscopes was referenced, and Astra nodded knowingly.

“That was your problem.”

Ready for a professional power surge? Today, Mercury returns to Pisces for a second lap — and now with the mental mammoth jetting ahead AND firing up your work mojo, you’re back to full strength and a force to be reckoned with!

“Why do his jets overpower my clean air?!” she demanded angrily, slamming cupboard doors as she decided to see if a cup of tea would do what the almond milk couldn’t. “You said my project would be back on track!”

“Well…without you, it might be. The stars don’t lie. We just don’t always want to hear what they have to say.”

She felt like that applied more to Astra than the stars at the moment.

“I’m never listening to you again!” The tea kettle slammed onto the stove. “This is as bad… no, this is worse than the time you told me my star signs aligned with the guy working at the deli!”

Astra responded with an indignant gasp. “That was a match literally made in heaven.”

“He lived in his minivan!”

“The stars don’t have to qualify his innate love of travel!”

The list of wrongs done to her by the advise of the stars and their purple-haired messenger was not exhausted yet, and she took great care to recite them all chronologically, her anger soon underscored by the harsh screeching of the kettle.

“You know, I can’t focus with all your—“ Astra waggled a hand in her direction, “negative chi up in here.”

“Well, guess what?” she snapped, spilling hot water onto the counter as she carelessly filled a mug decorated with dancing cats and the phrase ‘you’re a-meow-zing.’ “I don’t have a job anymore, so you’re going to have to deal with my negative chi a whole lot more now.”

Astra turned back to the computer, clicking a few times before sighing. “I should have seen this coming.”

Your home life might feel more like an amusement park than a peaceful oasis. You might have felt like everything you said came out wrong or was lost in translation. Whenever possible forgive, forget, and move on!

Astra clicked her computer shut and jumped to her feet. “I get it. You’re clearing the air, and I just have to forgive you for that.”

The purple-haired astrologer bounced out the door with a vibrant smile and an air kiss, leaving her in the kitchen as steamed as her fresh tea. She opened Astra’s computer and left a… personalized horoscope for her.

March 17, 2020: Mercury is retrogradable, and Saturn decided to take a vacation. Where? Nobody knows. You might find yourself in a few uncomfortable situations today, but don’t distress. Jupiter is still out there somewhere doing God knows what, and that might turn out well for you. It’s a good day to be nice to your roommate and replace the chocolate ice cream you ate last week. By the way, you’re paying my rent until I get another job.

All horoscopes were acquired at http://www.elle.com


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