Home > Matchmaking for Beginners(4)

Matchmaking for Beginners(4)
Author: Maddie Dawson

I feel my heart pounding so loudly I have to squeeze my fingers to ground myself. “Please,” I say. “The subversive truth about love is that it really is the big deal everyone makes it out to be, and it’s not some form of security or an insurance policy against loneliness. It’s everything, love is. It runs the whole universe!”

“Well. It’s not more important than the work of curing cancer,” she says.

“Yes. It is. It’s the life force. It’s all there is, in fact.”

She hugs herself, and I watch her as snowflakes land gently on her arms.

“Sometimes,” she says, “I see colors around people. And little lights. My family would be horrified if they knew. They’d see it as some kind of neurological condition, I think. But I see—little showers of sparks coming from nowhere.”

“I know. It’s just thought energy,” I tell her. And then I bite my lip and decide to plunge right in. “Do you ever use thoughts to make things happen? Just for fun?”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, watch. Turn around and let’s look in the window there. See—um, let’s choose the woman in the red sweater.”

She laughs. “Which one? They all have red sweaters.”

“The one with the red hair. Let’s just beam some thoughts over to her. Send her some white light. Go ahead, and watch what happens.”

We’re both silent. I bathe the woman in a glow with white light, the way I do. And sure enough, after about thirty seconds, she puts down her drink and looks around the room, as though she’s heard her name being called. Marnie laughs in delight.

“See? We did that! We sent her a little hit of something good, and she got it,” I say.

“Wait a minute. That’s energy? Does it always work?”

“Not always. Sometimes you get resistance. I only do it for fun. The matchmaking stuff—that seems to come from somewhere else. It’s like I get shown which people should be together.”

She looks at me with interest. The red spots on her cheeks are glowing brighter. “So did you figure out a way to make a living by being a matchmaker, then? That’s maybe what I need to figure out.”

“Ah, honey. I make a living being me. What I’ve learned is that the same intuition that lets me know which people need to be together also leads me to exactly what I need. Ever since I made up my mind to live the way I wanted to live, I’ve been provided for.”

“Wow,” she says and laughs. “I’m picturing myself trying to explain that to my dad.” Then she grabs my hand. “Hey! Will you come to our wedding? I really, really want you to be there.”

“Of course I will,” I tell her. If I’m still around. If I can.

And that’s when the universe evidently decides that enough is enough, and Noah appears, coming out of the back door and striding toward us. Like a man on a slightly annoying mission.

“I’ve been looking for you everywhere,” he says. “Oh my God, it’s snowing out here! And you guys don’t even have coats on.”

“I don’t need one. It’s wonderful,” says Marnie. “Look how it sparkles in the light. I had no idea it did that.”

“It’s just flurries,” he says and comes over and puts his arm across her shoulders. He’s such a handsome man, I think, with his dark hair and eyes, but it’s so sad how he carries around him an aura of cloudy beige. Marnie turns a bright, lovely pink and she looks at him so fondly, it’s like there’s a spray of stars all around her.

“I’ve just been having the most delightful conversation with your fiancée,” I tell him.

“Well, that’s great, but we’ve got to get going,” he says without looking at me. “Good to see you, Aunt Blix, and I’m sorry it’s so short, but we’ve got another party to get to.”

I’m sure he doesn’t remember that he once adored me, that we used to walk in the woods together and stomp in puddles in our rain boots or bare feet, and that one summer we caught fireflies and minnows and then blessed them and let them go. But that was a long time ago, and sometime along the way, he seems to have adopted his mother’s position that I am not worth bothering about.

I’m over it—really I am. I’d hoped for so much more, but now I’m so used to my family’s indifference that I don’t even mind the way they roll their eyes when they think I don’t notice, and how they’re always saying, “Oh, Blix!”

Marnie links her arm in Noah’s and kisses him on the cheek, and tells me, in case I didn’t know, that he’s the best third-grade teacher there is, and that all the kids in his class and their mothers just love him to death. I look at him and smile.

Noah shifts uncomfortably. “Marnie, I’m afraid we really have to go. Traffic is building as we speak.”

“Of course you do,” I say. “I’d get out of this party, too, if I could think of a plausible excuse.”

His expression stays the same, but she turns and grins at me. “So . . . ,” he says to her. “I’ll go get your coat for you. Is it in the den?”

“I’ll get it,” she says, but I touch her arm and when she looks at me, I shake my head just slightly. Let him go. And as soon as he’s gone, I say, “Listen, I’ve got to tell you this. You’re amazing and powerful, and you’re in line for a big, big life. There are lots of surprises in store for you. The universe is going to take you to such heights.”

She laughs. “Uh-oh. I don’t think I really like surprises.”

“These will be good ones, I’m sure,” I say. “This is the important thing. Don’t settle for anything you don’t want. That’s the main thing.”

I close my eyes. I want to tell her that she is all golden and Noah is all beige, and that there’s an unfortunate muddiness in the air when he looks at her—and if I could, if I didn’t know that she’d decide I was crazy, I’d tell her that she and I are linked somehow, that I’ve been looking for her.

But now Noah’s back with the coat and the purse and the instruction that she needs to go inside and tell his family good-bye.

She turns to him. “Your Aunt Blix says she’ll come to the wedding, isn’t that great?”

He helps her on with her coat, saying, “Yeah, well, tell my mom to add her to the list,” and then he pecks me on the cheek. “Take care of yourself,” he says.

It’s time to go. He strides away in that manly, impatient way, motioning for her to follow.

“Here! Take this! Some color for you.” I pull off my scarf, my favorite one with the blue silk burnouts and the straggly fringe, and I put it around her neck, and she smiles and blows me a kiss.

As they go inside, I see her tilt her face up to his, pink and gold and scarlet with love, a shower of sparks.

Once they’re gone, the air slowly settles down around me. The sparks quiet themselves and burn away, like those Fourth of July sparklers once they’ve used up their fuel and are about to turn back into sharp metal sticks.

I close my eyes, feeling suddenly drained and tired. And then I know something I didn’t know before, a truth as insistent as anything I’ve ever felt: Marnie MacGraw and Noah are not going to marry.

In fact, it’s already over.

TWO

MARNIE

“Oh my God, that was an epic fail,” says Noah in the car. “Epic! And Whipple, you freak, could you possibly drive like you’re even slightly sober? Like you’re not trying to get a DUI? We’re hoping to stay alive back here.”

Whipple’s car—a brand-new BMW convertible—does seem to be taking the corners on two wheels, I swear, and he appears to have perfected the art of driving with two fingers of his left hand as he holds a cocktail glass in his right hand. A glass that keeps sloshing red alcohol onto the seats and into the center console.

I had automatically gotten into the backseat, and then, to my surprise, Noah had jumped in beside me, leaving Whipple alone in the front, which means he has to crane his neck around backward so he can keep up with the conversation. And every time he moves his head, the car swerves off course, and he mashes his foot even harder on the gas pedal.

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