our future awaits
|Jennifer Lee O'Brien||Apr 6|
The other day I was half-and-half lying and sitting on the couch, while half-and-half watching TV and my Twitter feed. And from the least healthy ergonomically position possible I noticed the strangest thing. Which was that a medium-sized scrying mirror — in your standard obsidian make — had appeared on the wall of my living room. I knew it was a scrying mirror because someone had posted about something similar in one of the seventy-four Facebook groups I’m monitoring (importantly: not moderating) for no reason at all except they’re quite funny. And sometimes I can get an excellent deal on a ‘rare’ ceramic or rattan-anything.
I had been half-and-half lying and sitting on the couch, while half-and-half watching TV and my Facebook feed. Someone had posted about a scrying mirror, which looked like a flattened black orb in this instance, but in others more like a spray-painted dinner plate. There was a comment beneath the post which said something like: amateurs should NOT use scrying mirrors, they are EXTREMELY powerful objects of divination. Followed by several others which were either pro-amateur scrying mirror OR very not convinced in divination.
Chin still pressed into my collarbone, I thumb tapped my way into scrying 101 while also sniper vision locked into Sandy Cohen’s eyebrow movements whenever they appeared on screen. Basically, the Facebook mirror was just one of many mediums used for ‘scrying’ — which is, to look into an object and detect messages, objects or visions. Like a crystal ball, but more goth.
I forgot about the Facebook scrying mirror almost seconds later because Ryan Atwood was looking moody and Marissa Cooper was solo drinking in Tijuana. I probably wouldn’t have thought much about it again except that it was now on my living room wall. This was a week later and now Marissa was now really mad at Ryan because he was concerned about her friend Oliver, who would later in the season hold her hostage in his penthouse with a gun. The scrying mirror was not there and suddenly it was there. I did that thing I do after I accidentally stare at the sun, which is to blink a bunch of times until I can see again. I hoped that the scrying mirror might break apart into one million particles and fade into my peripherals. It didn’t, which I agree with you, was worrying. But also the placement was bothering me. Its misalignment with the mantelpiece was absolutely ruining what I felt was the start of a solid living room vibe. I did what my therapist said to do when I encounter a bad feeling, which is to be curious about it. The bad feeling in this instance was an obsidian scrying mirror that had materialised too far off-centre in my home. I was to sit with the bad feeling. I was literally sitting across from it, so that seemed like a good start.
I moved to the edge of my couch in a much healthier ergonomic position and did a breathing exercise. I conjured up a happy place in my mind and tried to notice all the small details. I thought about my happy place and then I thought about salt circles and then my happy place again and That’s So Raven and then my happy place and a Tik Tok I’ve seen recently and back and forth like so. When I opened my eyes again, I didn’t feel much better about the bad feeling — in this case, the opaque abyss on my wall — but I was prepared to be curious about it. I blinked a bunch of times just in case, and when it didn’t disappear I decided to approach it. Sandy Cohen was giving some kind of dad-alogue in the background, which was comforting.
Up close, the scrying mirror was impressive. It had this upscale 80s feel about it; coal black, smooth, maximalist and clean. It was reflective, but only just. My face appeared as a distorted shadow. I thought: once the prints are up, it’ll fit right in. Which was more of a concession, actually. Because the thing was stuck to the wall. When I tried to shift it, I felt the plaster begin to crack. I’d have to wait a few months so that my dad could help to remove it. I could not explain this to someone off Gumtree.
In the background, I could hear Marissa crying. I briefly dwelled on the impact of this show on my self-image in high school. I hadn’t watched The OC back then, but those low rise skirts from American Eagle just never fit right because I wasn’t Mischa Barton. I thought about how much time had passed; about all those minutes I’d waded through like draining swamp water. About how it was no longer March. How it had now been more than a year since lockdown began and eighteen since Ryan had carried Marissa out of the alleyway to the sound of Mazzy Star.
I retraced my brain feet back to the present. Divination object appears on wall before my paint samples have arrived. I should just accept it. Having an aesthetic curiosity seemed like enough. And then, there was the issue of actually seeing something within it. A glimpse into the world outside the inside world we’d all been living. What would it look like now? Where did I fit? I pressed my hand against the scrying mirror. It felt solid, like heavy glass. It was enough that it was there; I didn’t need to see, just yet, what happens next.
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