– Joan of Arc
in The Magician: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel
By Michael Scott
As my AirAsia flight to Singapore dropped in altitude in preparation to land at Changi Airport, my thoughts ran through the event of Thursday night when I received a phone call and a knock on my door aside from a line that Joan of Arc said in The Magician. A and I had been estranged for several weeks then. His withdrawal and subsequent silence was not to my liking when I was certainly not in the wrong. True to my nature, I had written him off because I didn’t deserve such treatment.
I’ve lost friends and friends have lost me. I’ve ended friendships and vice versa. Rebuilding friendships never came easy with me because seeking and granting forgiveness is almost alien in my vocabulary. I suppose another reason is I was born under the feisty Scorpio, the zodiac sign with the deadly sting. This particular Scorpion minces her words when she wants to keep friends; she only lets loose my acerbic tongue when she is ready to sever ties completely. Words are, after all, always sharper than a razor-sharp sword. Meticulous, strong-willed and determined are some more of a Scorpion’s attributes, which make it difficult to let grievances slide. They generally have a long memory too; every minute detail is stored in their memory banks and, in almost perfect synchronicity, such detail pops up in the midst of a reckoning.
Another way of putting it, when this particular Scorpion ends something, she ends it completely. There is no turning around and a friendship and its memories are incinerated from existence. Conversely, if someone ends it, so be it. That’s the Scorpion for you.
But that Thursday evening was an eye opener. It never crossed my mind to offer the olive branch, but A did, which began with a phone call and a request to talk. In five minutes, he was knocking at my door carrying a peace offering and ready to chat. Surprisingly, my tail was not poised to attack as I was wont to do in such cases. A is one of the few people who extended the olive branch to me – the count won’t go beyond the first five fingers.
On hindsight, there is C. We’ve weathered several years-long rifts in our 12-year old friendship. There was another C – a woman – and that friendship went out of the window because I threw it out of the window. It’s funny how the true color of some people are revealed when they they’ve successfully moved up the social and corporate ladders when, in reality, the movement is only in their minds. Anyway, C, the man, has always been the one extending the olive branch without fail and conversely, I keep accepting it, which only means one thing, we can’t get rid of each other that easily.
F is another friend that went away and came back. There was a rift brought about by insensitivity on my part and distrust on her part. As the saying goes, “once bitten twice shy”, but she took a chance and a text message when I was in Jakarta at the time of 9-11 attack got us back on the friendship track. I still remembered what she said when we met face-to-face: “I thought you weren’t going to answer my text message and I’m glad you did.” I was certainly glad I did.
The last is R. This situation was a little sticky because both of us are Scorpions except the other one was a bit more emotional and we’re not talking about me. Luckily, this one had a happy ending, too.
Learning forgiveness is, I can say, one of the toughest lessons that I had to learn. I’m still learning the concept in its entirety because the happy endings with A, C, F and R, the feeling of elation that tingles from head to toe, are matchless. However, the issue of being a Scorpion can’t be glossed over or neglected.