Confession: The Magic 8 Ball


Lessons learned from my friend Zoe.


“When Nick and I broke up my mom had to take away my Magic 8 ball.”

In an attempt for answers, my then sixteen year old friend Cynthia clung tight to her 8 ball for the clarity she so desperately wanted post-breakup. In the same way we used to pick up flowers and rely on a bunch of petals to tell us, he loves me or he loves me not. But if that daisy didn’t give us the answer we wanted we’d just pick up another one. If the 8 ball gave an unsatisfactory answer, we’d just shake it another time.

Cynthia ended up breaking hers.

We get a little older and stop trusting flowers. Instead we rely on our horoscope or we go get our Taro cards read.

“She said I’ll meet my soul mate at twenty nine and he’ll have hazel eyes”.

But what about all the poor blue eyed gentleman you might meet in the meantime? They could be very nice soul mate material too.  I started to see the connection between Cynthia’s broken Magic 8 ball and the psychic my girlfriend visited last month. We just want clarity. A definite answer.


Ok that’s not actually what Blaire asked the psychic. It was more like, “What can you tell me about my love life?” Blaire had a moment of relief: Her tall hazel eyed soul mate would appear sometime in her twenty ninth year of life.

Skeptical? Me too.

There’s people that listen closely to their horoscopes and the Taro Card lady. Or they simply trust that what’s meant to be will be. Half of the time I’m one of those people.

Then there’s Zoe.

I doubt Zoe ever owned a Magic 8 ball. She probably stepped on flowers. And she definitely isn’t going to let a pack of cards tell her what’s meant to be. The difference is that Zoe knows exactly what she wants and has the balls to ask for it.

So there’s this guy. They might have broken up once or twice. Or three times. I vaguely remember someone or something telling me that the use of ultimatums in relationships wasn’t fair.  Zoe wouldn’t have listened to that advice anymore than she would have trusted an 8 ball.

For fun, I looked up the definition of an ultimatum: “A final, uncompromising demand or set of terms issued by a party to a dispute, the rejection of which may lead to a severance of relations or to the use of force.”

Sounds like a sure way to get what you want.

So this was Zoe’s conversation with three-times-ex-boyfriend/potential-soul-mate:

“I need to know if we want the same things”

I know I fucked up but I’m ready now and I see my future with you.

(A lot of us probably would have had heart explosions and been more than happy with that answer. Zoe wasn’t falling for it.)

“Do you see us living together?”



In time…

(God bless him.)

“That’s not good enough. I’m going to tell you what I want and if you don’t see yourself wanting the same things in the near future than I’m going to do them anyways without you. I want a relationship that is growing and moving forward.”

Zoe proceeded to tell three-times-ex-boyfriend exactly how she saw her life proceeding including travel plans, living arrangements, and career choices. She set her terms; it was uncompromising. The rejection of which would indeed sever their relationship.

Talk about grabbing life (and him) by the balls.

All of us want answers; we always have. He loves me or he loves me not?  What I learned from Zoe this week is that there’s power in going right to the source for the answer rather than tip toeing around the issue.

But what I also know is that there’s excitement in the mystery. And sometimes, as in Blaire and I’s case, we could start by enjoying the questions a little more.

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