Callie S. Blackstone
August is the season of the Leo, the lion, the cocky golden child who expects all eyes on him. I had always attracted this energy. In my late 20s I ended a relationship with yet another Leo, one with an ego size that was particularly impressive.
I had spent our relationship trying to convince him that he should spend less time staring into a mirror and more time staring at me. I tried to teach him that healthy relationships were reciprocal, that we were both worthy of compliments, devotion, love. He would stare at my lips while I talked, his eyes blurred over. He seemed confused by these ideas, and his gaze would eventually trail back to the glass before I finished talking. Our relationship drowned in my tears while I tried to figure out why I wasn’t enough for him. I don’t know why I was shocked; this had occurred several times before with other Leos.
If I was honest with myself, I knew this was part of the appeal. The Leo only has the capacity to fully love himself. If I stayed with him, I would spend my life chasing his affections, but would never fully earn them. There would always be something missing. I would always be churning. I would never have to look at myself in the mirror.
My days grew empty. I went to work. I came home. There was no one to tell me to clean, to make sure the house was up to a specific set of standards. It slowly fell into disarray. I spent most nights listening to the empty laughter of endless re-runs, leaning over yet another bland tv dinner. I didn’t know what to do with myself without him there. I didn’t know what to put in my mouth without him there.
After he left, my bed grew cold. My sleep was restless. I turned over and over, reaching for him every night. My own hands could not replicate how he made me feel when he finally gazed at me and made me the center of his glowing attention, if only for a short time; when he tied me up, and made me give into his will. Snow began to pile on the ground outside and I grew even colder. I missed the way his large frame had kept me burning, no matter the season.
In the middle of one of these freezing nights, I decided I had had enough. I dragged myself out of bed, fished a bra out on the pile on the floor, and put on the first shoes I saw. I didn’t bother finding my snow scraper and shoved the flakes off my windshield with the sleeves of my jacket, which remained damp late into the afternoon. I navigated my car through snowdrifts and long rows of bad drivers, almost clipping snowbanks several times.
The lights in the store were glaring and I was momentarily blinded. The man stared at me and it took me several times to realize what he wanted. I handed him my ID. He stepped aside and I proceeded to eye adult toys in a range of sizes and colors. My longing was suffocating me.
Even then, I knew nothing would suffice. But I had to try. I selected something large and golden, like him. It felt comfortable in my hand, not heavy or awkward like others I’d tried in the past. I went home and used it. It turned on with such ease, and thudded dully in a rhythm that was supposed to be appealing. I orgasmed quickly and began to cry. There was no work, no submission. There was no turmoil. It all came so easily. I had earned nothing. I sighed, stuffed the toy back in its packaging, and shoved it to the bottom of my closet, where it remained under discarded fishnets and old boots.
As the snow slowly melted, I decided to emerge from hibernation. I couldn’t go without touch anymore. I couldn’t go without purpose anymore.
I was determined to try other flavors, to break my ugly habit. There had to be some other sign that was just as appealing. The gangly, blonde Taurus was too practical and verged on germaphobic. He insisted on washing the sheets immediately after having sex, and I shivered nearby as he stripped the mattress, naked and unsatisfied. The Gemini was extremely cheap and claimed to have forgotten his wallet on our third date. The waitress found my eyes, and her look told me to run. The Virgo was far too cold. Where the Leo’s self-centeredness dripped with charisma, the Virgo lacked any of this charm and his coldness bordered on cruelty. No one took control, made me work for it, gave me purpose. It was all too easy, too boring, too mundane. I wanted something golden, shining. I wanted warmth.
Spring was approaching and I was alone. My body ached, my heart called out for its mate, its Leo. I would spend my life adoring and worshiping and obeying. I would never stray again. I would be a good girl. I downloaded dating apps. I didn’t use the cheesy age-old pick up line about signs. I only bothered swiping right on men who were Leos, but none ever expressed any serious interest. They knew I couldn’t live up to their needs.
I kept thinking about what my friend said when I drunkenly called her yet again about my situation. Love spells take away someone’s autonomy. You shouldn’t cast them on a specific person. Cast a spell to improve yourself, to make yourself more attractive, or to draw love to you. But never on a specific person! All of the usual witchy books and magazines seemed to agree. This upset me. I missed my Leo, I missed his inflated ego and sense of self-worth. I needed him back. I needed my purpose back. I needed something to churn for.
I did some more research. I googled Leo and Scorpio compatibility. Various websites described this love connection as “legendary.” They noted that Leos were flamboyant show-offs who needed an audience, and that Scorpios loved to submit to that role. I ordered some astrology books online. All of the books seemed to support this assertion, this knowledge I carried with me in my bones. I felt the need to submit to him again deep within me.
I spent the days leading up to the full moon in research and meditation. When the moon reached its peak size, I thanked the universe for my existence and my recent revelations. I gathered the items I thought could entice my Leo back to me: a hunk of raw gold I had harvested from the desert as a child, a mirror, a glass of an expensive foreign liquor, a sunflower. I presented these items on my windowsill to the universe, the moon, the magic Leo man I knew was waiting for me. I presented these items, and I yearned.
Callie S. Blackstone writes both poetry and prose. Her work appears or is forthcoming in Plainsongs, Lily Poetry Review, Rust+Moth, Prime Number Magazine, West Trestle Review, and others. Callie is a lifelong New Englander. She is lucky enough to wake up to the smell of saltwater and the call of seagulls everyday. You can find her online home at calliesblackstone.com.