Another email arrived from Paola the Psychic, containing a free reading. Talia was bored so she opened it. She sat at the kitchen table, brushing chip crumbs from her stained tracksuit bottoms. The image of Paola showed a woman with lustrous dark hair and angular cheekbones. Her head was tilted to the side, her red lips parted in a knowing smile. Talia felt as if she could see through the computer screen into her soul.
‘You have been suffering lately. A malaise has settled on your life, affecting your marriage, your career, and your personal power. Order a full reading, for just $29.95, and I can turn your life around.’
Talia was desperate, so she replied. ‘Yes, please do the reading, as soon as possible.’ She typed her credit card details and closed her laptop, feeling foolish.
A retrenchment, depression, and an emotionally absent husband. Not to mention an eleven year old with an attitude as wrong as Donald Trump’s hairpiece. Yes, she had a few issues to deal with.
Her son, Jake sat at the kitchen bench, his finger swiping his ipad. His black hair was shaped into a fierce point over his forehead, stiff with product. Several expletives blared from the device.
‘What are you watching, Jake? It sounds inappropriate.’
He snorted. ‘It sounds inapproopriate’ he parroted, raising an eyebrow and curling his lip.
Talia exhaled loudly and pulled out some chicken from the freezer. She set about making dinner, whilst coaxing a reluctant Jake to start his homework.
The email arrived the next morning. It was four pages, and gave detailed instructions for managing her life.
‘You must take control of your marriage—communicate with your husband. Spend more time together. His eye is straying—keep him close. Children need boundaries and limits—use them. Tap into your power and confidence by going for the job you want. You are underselling yourself.’ She wrote down these parts in a notebook, summarizing the advice.
Come on Talia, she urged herself. It’s time to pull yourself together.
Her campaign began on the Monday. She booked a getaway to Bali with her husband, and conversed with him. He talked back, and they seemed to get along quite well. She confiscated Jake’s ipad, and reprimanded him for using their credit card to buy extra lives in Candy Crush. He nodded, his mouth hanging open. She applied for ten jobs as a creative director at top advertising agencies, and was asked to seven interviews.
By the following week, she had secured one of the jobs, and been offered two others. Jake only swore at her once, and was docile the rest of the time. Her husband initiated more conversations, and she spent the first day at her new job.
On the Friday, she saw one of her best friends for lunch. Cassie was stunned at her rapid turnaround.
‘What brought all this on? Last time we caught up, you were sobbing into my shoulder.’
Talia laughed. ‘You wouldn’t believe it. It was one of those emails, from Paola the Psychic.’
Cassie almost choked on her Pinot Gris. ‘You’ve got to be kidding. I got one of those too. Here, I think I still have it on my phone. It was amazing. I’m much closer to my husband already.’
Talia peered at the screen on her friend’s phone. Her mouth went dry. ‘You must take control of your marriage…’ Word for word, the same reading. All four pages.