“You need to redirect your energy”, the writing pops up on the phone. Cristine is trying to make bread, her hands are covered in dough. Her friend Sabine told her it was going to be a good stress-relief activity.
She graduated in June and since then an uneasiness has been eating her. It feels like a stomach that’s a knot, like shaky hands. After graduation, she took an online internship whose, limited, salary, allowed her not to leave her apartment in the city where she studied. She is worried if she goes home her legs will sink into the earth and she won’t be able to leave ever again. The internship will only last another month or so, she’s trying to look for a job. She had the realization that job searching websites are quite dooming places to be. She feels underqualified for pretty much anything. Making bread just made the list of skills she does not have. On Linkedin, everybody shares their new starts. Some of her friends left and moved away. She did not want to. She did not want to find new bakeries and bars and coffee shops and cinemas. She does not want to be new again. She would have loved to dwell on university life for a little more. Sabine is her only close friend who stayed in the city, she is working at a flower shop. She wanted to take a break from academics, she said. Cristine suspects it has a bit to do with the fact that Sabine’s last year at uni was completely derailed by an awful break-up with her long-term boyfriend. She needed to slow down a bit, everybody agreed it was a good idea. When Sabine and her boyfriend had just broken up, Cristine slept at her house for a week and left her coffee on the table before going out.
The stress relief thing is definitely not working and now she just really wants to open the notification. Her sticky fingers reach the screen and leave dough traces on it. The notification was from Co-star, a horoscope app that talks to its users like an intrusive friend. She scrolls down to the Dos and Don’t part, the app is so nice that it gives you practical guidelines for the day.
Today, Do: “restaurants, yellow, fruits”, Don’t: “irony, cleaning up, small spaces”. Well, then she won’t clean up after baking, she does not need cosmic bad luck.
Co-star also says she has power in love, pressure in spirituality and creativity, troubles in self, career and routine. Troubles in career sounds just about right. On the other hand, though, power in love seems promising.
She finally puts the phone down and keeps kneading the dough. What did Co-star want to tell her? Maybe she’ll meet someone, maybe today is the right day to get back on Tinder. It would be nice if the universe surprised her. She puts the bread in the oven and moves to the couch. A deck of cards is lying on the coffee table, it says “question cards” on the top of the box. She bought them from a sweet woman in this esoteric shop. It’s quite a handy way to consult the universe anytime she feels a bit confused. She tends to feel like that a lot.
Sabine has texted her. Yesterday she had a bit of a breakdown. They were having dinner and she got news from a job she had applied to. Not hired. Initially, she tried to take it calmly: it’s not that bad, it’s just one job. Then panic just rose in her body. She started thinking about how to fit all the clothes she had in her childhood bedroom and she lost it. She burst into tears. Sabine held her, and whispered that all was going to fall into place. She slowly tried to make her laugh: ”I’ll take care of all your clothes, especially those jeans that give me a great ass, it’s no problem, really”.
She takes the cards. “Am I going to find a job?” “Remain positive”
“Well, fuck you cards, I am trying.”
She opens Instagram and sees a picture of a friend, Emma. In the picture, her boyfriend hugs her from behind and they are both smiling. They are beautiful, they look like they have never worried in their life. They’ll both start great jobs in September and get a beautiful apartment together and they will continue to never ever worry. Something deep in her stomach tells her it’s not fair. It’s not fair: they get love and career prospects and lower rent cause they share one room. She gets ridiculous rent, rejections and guys telling her they don’t want anything serious. Fuck this.
“Will I have a long-term relationship?” “No need to worry”. The cards are not proving useful, that’s for sure. This stupid guy told her the other day that “he did not want to commit cause life is so unpredictable at this age”. She looked at him in disbelief. Why wouldn’t someone want at least one sure thing? While she thinks about it, her stomach is closing on itself.
The doorbell rings. She wasn’t waiting for anybody. Behind the door, there’s Sabina, flustered. “I thought to check in.”
Cristine smiles. She suddenly feels light.
“Can I come in?”
“Of course, sorry”
She makes space for Sabina to enters the door and Sabina enters the house with loud steps.
“Sorry I did not answer the texts”
“Yeah, about that, you made me worry a bit”
“I was just a bit-”, she stops.
“It’s okay. Why is your kitchen such a mess?”
“You told me making bread could be a good idea”
“Why is the kitchen such a mess?”
She thinks to lie and say she just finished.
“I thought if I cleaned up my cosmic luck was gonna get fucked and I was going to have no career and to be single forever”
Sabina looks at Cristine. She lifts her eyebrows, and a little smile lifts her lips.
Cristine smiles too. They burst into laughter.
Then Sabine hugs her tight: ”If I may make a suggestion, you should spend less time alone”
“What if we clean up and then we have your bread with butter and I make tea?”
“Can I look for jobs next you for a while?”
Sabine smiles: ”Sure”.
Sabina starts slowly washing the bowls while Cristine wipes the surfaces.
Sabine turns around: “You looked so surprised I came”
“Yeah, but I shouldn’t have been.”
“My horoscope kinda hinted at it.”
“You seriously need to detox from that.”