His sad face was like a bullet to my gut. I said it was over, not because he was a bad boyfriend. I just knew there was no future in it. I felt it in my bones. But bones can lie and so can the mouth.
I stopped eating. I didn’t go out. I found it hard to work. My friend Lisa thought it was a curse. Or some past life karma thing. She said she knew a guy. He was from South America. A shaman. He could help. I’d just have to bring an egg.
Finding the place wasn’t easy. There weren’t any signs saying CURSES REMOVED HERE or GET SAVED ON SUNSET. Just cross streets in Echo Park and a description: Blue awning. Next to a diner. Glass storefront. People waiting with eggs. Maybe a chicken.
I sat in an open waiting room with a dozen or so people, mostly Hispanic and all quiet. It was a little unsettling. Stoic faces that gave away nothing.
The man across from me had an open carton of eggs in his oil-stained lap. The woman next to him had a basket full of white and brown eggs that she balanced with one arm, a child in another. I pulled my single pasteurized egg close to my chest, feeling insecure and out of my depth.
I looked at my number: eighty-three. It was only nine-fifteen in the morning, and there’d already been eighty-two tickets issued. Incredible, I thought. Someone nearby was definitely making a killing on egg sales.
“NUMBER EIGHTY-THREE,” said a stout woman in a nurse’s uniform. I jumped up. Winner, winner. My heart pumped red fire. I was all in.
I followed the nurse lady through a string of plastic beads, past storage boxes and shelves full of glass candleholders painted with pictures of saints and the Virgin Mary.
She led me to a dimly lit room with a small altar and a chair and told me to sit. Above me was a large painting of Jesus. He was crowned with thorns that dripped with blood. The frame was decorated with colored lights and a pink rose. I could hear the bustle of the diner next door. It smelled like onions.
A man walked out of the shadows. He was tall and wore a white robe with a blue vestment like a priest. His green eyes glowed in the darkness. “Welcome,” he said. His brown, leathered skin creased deeper into his already lined face as he smiled. “Did you bring an egg?”
“Yes,” I said, humbled and small in my plastic chair. I handed him my ward.
He placed it on a purple velvet pillow on the altar next to a gold coin, a white bowl, and a glass of water. He looked up to the heavens and said, “Oh, Father, bless this child,” then mumbled words in a mix of languages. I could feel Jesus looking down on me, suspicious. Did he know I was an atheist? Would he call me out?
The Eggman flicked water onto the altar then cracked the egg into the white bowl. I held my breath and leaned over the bowl. Yellow yolk floated in the bottom. I was confused. It looked like every other cracked egg I’d ever seen. Was this my karma? Was this a curse? Did I buy the wrong egg?
The Eggman looked at me with his glowing green eyes and said, “What you suffer from is a broken heart.”
I nodded. Thanked him. Paid ten dollars to the nurse. Walked past number eighty-four with his carton of eggs, past a woman holding a chicken, and out onto Sunset Blvd.
And then, for the first time in weeks, I cried.
Laura Morris is an American writer and producer. A traveler by nature, she has spent many a day on foreign soil, tasting new food, stumbling over a mix of languages and appreciating an expanded view of the world. She currently resides in New Jersey with her husband and a piano that’s too big for the living room. Her work has been published in Hobart (forthcoming), Bombaz Press, ONTHEBUS and other anthologies.