I remember it was at the annual school fête. I would have been eight years old. A hand-lettered sign promised fortunes told, and so I went into the tent. I sat down at the table, across from my bluff Class 2 teacher, Mrs Feitosa. She wore a turban and a purple cape, while I was Julius Caesar, draped in a sheet. Everyone dressed up for the fête, and I had been deeply impressed by our lessons that year about the Romans. I recall it being a hot, Brazilian day.
Mrs Feitosa carefully laid out the cards on the table; they were unlike those with which I had seen my Mother playing solitaire. Most of what she said I can no longer recall, nor do I remember what suits were spread out. But I clearly see her tutting at one of the tarot, and hear her informing me, in her stern and matronly voice, it foretold of a lifelong opposition, of someone who would always be an obstacle, a barrier. Someone, not something. I was rather scared.
Throughout my childhood the memory would surface occasionally and I would ponder upon it, unable to fathom who might be my opponent. This continued even after childish credulity gave way to skepticism in all things divinatory. Then a few years ago, I thought I had figured it out; in a flash of revelation, I realized who had been and was still my obstacle. Someone very close to me.
More recently I was reflecting once --idly, I thought-- on the mystic Mrs Feitosa. And I was suddenly mugged by the realization that I had been wrong. In fact I had been, was, and could continue to be, my own lifelong nemesis.
Dead Can Dance - Song of the Sibyl (buy here or e-here)
Shriekback - Nemesis (buy here)