If You Were

If you were an Aries, I’d come home to find you deep into exploration, everything new to you. You’re the infant of the wheel, charging headfirst into danger or safety — you’ll show the same eagerness no matter what kind of ground you cover. Everything to you will be a fight to the death, even love and tenderness and compassion. You do nothing by halves, and you’ll grow so tired of my Scorpio silences.

But I do nothing by halves either, even if I hide that fact, so I’ll understand you more than I might another fire sign. Once upon a time, before Pluto was discovered, we shared Mars as our ruler. War is our nature even if mine has grown quieter — gone underground, as it were.

You’re a leader, but you’re new at this. You walk hunched forward, those hidden ram’s horns are heavy, and you never know when someone might need a good head-butt. I’m an organizer, so I’ll support you naturally, but your fire and my water will make steam, and given enough time, we’ll fog up any landscape.You’ll excite me. I’ll perplex you. Ultimately, we’ll go our separate ways. I with regret that I hurt you, but relief at escaping. You feeling betrayed. How could I?

Sweet, innocent Ram. How couldn’t I?

If you were a Taurus … No, oh mighty Taurus, not yet. Let’s come back to you later, yes?

Yes, you heave in relief. Later. And you take your stubbornness and your certainty and turn to something else. Something that won’t confront.

Fighting, for all your bullish strength, is your least favorite thing. Venus is your ruler after all, and she requires you to love. You balance what should be fierceness with a need to plant your feet, to not hurt. The charge, when it finally comes, is generally at notions and ideas, not people. I’ll want to fight with you, and you’ll refuse. Water wears down and earth shakes, and together…together we’ll make mud. Or quicksand.

We’re opposed, you see. Your strengths are my weaknesses and vice versa. There is nothing we can do but drive each other crazy, and yet…we’re drawn to our missing parts like moths to a flame.

We feel incomplete together, even as we wish at times we could be more like the other. We’re both organizers, so there’s a deep sympathy in that, in how we’d like the world to be, even if we express it so differently.

And when we pull away, when I, with my watery tendency toward highs and lows can no longer deal with your obsession with finding the middle, with eliminating the cliffs and valleys of emotion from your life, we’ll part, likely to never see each other again.
We can’t remain friends, although you’ll be cordial because you fear me and I’ll be cordial because there’s nothing to fear — and it will bother me forever that you can’t see that.

Of all the signs, you’ll hurt me the most and it will matter the least. And I’ll never know if you even care.

If you were a Gemini, you’d exhaust me with the power of your mind. Not that I won’t appreciate it. Anything quick and bright is appealing, but quicksilver slips away if you hold too tightly and shiny things can burn.

Or freeze because air might be yang, but your detachment isn’t. Your attention flits and my obsession grows. I’m anything but light and you’re nothing that’s heavy. Even grief, which I dissolve into, you rise above. I admire that, by the way. I see it as a gift. I wish I could fly, too.

The sex will be better after the act, I think, than during. When we can lie next to each other and talk and laugh, and I’ll marvel at how many subjects you know things about. With Mercury driving you, how can you not?

And you’ll smile when I come up with something profound and weird and not what you expect me to say. Because I’ll do that — I’ll go the other way and you’ll never see it coming.

You’ll go the other way, too, and I’ll call it betrayal. You notice everything and everyone, and I’ll assume that means you take whatever you want, even if you’re utterly faithful to me. Water and air make a cyclone, a hurricane, and if we’re not careful, we’ll spin over everything, wreaking havoc. And you’re a twin, so you can split off, create baby water spouts to go with the bigger one, because to be just one thing is against your nature. I’ll never know which front to fight. You won’t even view it as a war.

We’ll part with no regrets, sometimes even get together, to talk over coffee. I may hold too tightly, but you’ve learned the balance of interest and impermanence, and you’re a communicator. I have to hold to organize; you never have to touch if you don’t want to.

If you were a Cancer, wouldn’t it be wonderful? Water and water, finally. It’s soothing, isn’t it? Our natural element the same. You’ll be the leader and I’ll organize your life into harmony. Birds will sing and angels will play harps and the Moon will shine down on us, smiling, and — wait, what are you doing? Did you just scuttle away? Sideways, so I can’t find you? Emotion is water’s domain and yet you pull back.

I want to fall into it with you. I want to finally put down my stinger and be at peace. And so long as I don’t let the sideways jerks get to me, I can.

Water melds in strange ways. Salt to salt, fresh to fresh, but perhaps we are salt to fresh. We make brackish waters and the strangest creatures live in those places.

The most dangerous, too.

If we part, we’ll break each other’s hearts. But before we part, you’ll explode. When the sideways escapes no longer work, you’ll strike out with those pincers and I’ll stand in hurt silence.

Oh, I understand rage. But why can’t you get mad with me at the same time? Why does your rage look like loss of control and my ability to be logical strike you as cold?
(Where is the Gemini at times like this? Can you believe I’m longing for the twins when you’re one of my very best matches?)

I’ll forgive you your outbursts and you’ll forgive me when I crawl into my hole and pull dirt on top of me. I hide to prevent an outburst and you crawl until you can’t outrun the issue and then explode.

My tail is cruel. You’ll be right to leave me when you finally do.

You’ll be right to let me back in again, too. Water can do that; it flows. Oceans meet, and that border can be seamless.

We were made for each other. And yet …

If you were a Leo, we’d understand each other, fixed as we are in the organizer role. But your fire and my water will have to work hard not to burn up or drown each other out.

I’ll admire the way you put yourself forward. You’ll pull me in your wake, and even though my tail’s still up, I’ll often follow. Usually I’m charmed by the way you always know where the light is coming from. I can shine, but I don’t seek to do it. You live for it.

Of all the signs, though, you’re the one that will most often say you’re on the cusp—as if a quick glance at an Ephemeris won’t clear that up: a light is on or off, not both, and so a sign is one thing or the other. You’ll try to claim Virgo, even though it’s patently obvious you’re not that. You see your ego as a bad thing—more accurately you know others might. You see publicity-seeking, the need to hold the stage, as a negative in the eyes of those who judge.

But someone has to shine, don’t they? We need our Lions.

And the Sun that rules you, that you love to stand in, warms those around you. Nothing on this planet is as soothing as a Leo’s arms. Never forget that. The comfort you bestow is a gift from the gods. Embrace it.

I don’t see us working, so I’ll love you and give you the strokes you want, and our affair will turn to something else. Both of us grateful for it because while it was there, you loved the cooling comfort of my waterlogged love and I craved the feeling of sunshine filtered through your heart.

You’ll probably know most of my secrets. That’s a gift I seem only to share with fire signs.

If you were a Virgo, I’d understand you. Your need for routine. Your almost pathological desire to organize your life even though your natural role is to communicate. I’m called on to lead more times than I prefer, so I get it. What we do and what we’re supposed to do can be two different things, but you impose the duality on yourself.

But inside — inside, there’s a warmth that those who see only the stickler for rules and routine and tradition never notice. You’re like the fire within the planet; you could warm us all if you weren’t harnessed by so much earth. Mercury guides you, even if someday you may be assigned another ruler, one that lets you embrace your softness. And despite Mercury’s influence, you’ll see my pain, and when other signs dismiss or ignore or fail to notice me, you’ll be the one who asks gently what’s wrong.

But you may forget my birthday. And spell my name wrong. It’s a dichotomy I can’t explain. I’ll love you despite it. I think it’s that you look out, as any communicator should. But you don’t want to let anyone down, and so you try to look inside too, and that’s why you count or sort or file by number or hang by color. Because it’s the only way you know how to look inside.

Like a Cancer, you’ll explode. Like a Scorpio, your eyes can go dead and make the person you’re talking to feel like they don’t exist.

You won’t love with abandon or desperation but with quiet intent. For those who love you, it will be heady.

Until you detach. I detach, too, so I understand it. I go into my hole; you go into your closet to make sure the shirts are hanging from dark to light. We all have our coping mechanisms.

I’ll understand you so well. But our basic nature, my need to hold and yours to send out, may be at odds.

We’re unlikely to last as lovers. We’ll probably always be friends. You may, in fact, be my most trusted advisor, and I may be your favorite confidant.

There are worse things to be.

If you were a Libra, your ability to measure the options would fascinate me — until, in exasperation, I question that you’re really a cardinal sign, since decisions should not be so hard for a leader. It will take another air sign—or maybe fire other than your opposed Ram — to understand the beauty of your scales. To fully grasp that you will make the best decision there is to be made with the information at hand—and that of course, if there’s new info, you must stop and meld it into what you know.

The decision-making process will start over. And my Scorpio go-with-your-gut nature will scream for release. You’re beautiful and you love the strange places my mind takes you — places you can then add to your cache of information — but we will not last. We’re next to each other on the wheel, so you’ll look up to me and I’ll be more patient with you than some of my other water and earth siblings might be, but still, it will not work sun to sun.

Even though I want it to. You share Venus as a ruler with Taurus, and her influence on you is more obvious. You’re lovely — every Libra is lovely, even if the loveliness is only an effervescence and not physical beauty. So I will want you. Always.

As someone wants any beautiful thing.

Our charts may save us, if you dive into water in some other planets, if I can fly with you in the air in the houses that matter. But otherwise, no. I’ll disappoint you and you’ll express it, because air does that. I’ll be hurt and never tell you, because a scorpion would rather die than let anyone know how badly they can be harmed.

If you were another Scorpio, there would be no limit to how much damage we could inflict on each other. Tails up, water cascading down upon us, we share our best natures and our worst. There’s no hope for one of us to bring in the opposing — sanity-bestowing — viewpoint unless we stray far from our sun sign in every other aspect.

We’ll love without measure. We’ll fight without ceasing. We’ll make up and forgive —but never forget—and love again. Everything we do will be permanent. Until it’s not.

We’ll hide the things that matter and say ugly things that don’t.

We’re distant like Pluto, and hard and sharp like Mars. Both rule us, whether we want them to or not.

But sometimes, just sometimes, we’ll find a beauty that only sameness brings. A quiet lovely pool where we can be silent and hear the glory of the strange all around us. That’s our strength: the bizarre, the lonely, the ugly that shows its beauty only when deeply probed. I will love you as no other because you see as I do.

We’ll leave each other anyway. Never forgetting. Never not longing for the other.

Yours will be the name I give first on any list of those I’ve loved.

If you were a Sagittarius, I would admire your ability to move so freely and speak your mind. You would show astounding patience with me, because we’re next to each other on the wheel. I’m your Libra and you teach me more than a little about honesty.

But you also wound me with your relentless truth. With your need to be free. Fire’s your element, and a lit arrow often destroys more than just what it hits. You don’t regret; it’s just your nature. Did Jupiter regret his affairs? His need to be free? His thunderbolt?

We part easily. Our love will turn to a friendship that’s conducted from a distance, even when standing right next to each other. I fear your flames more than that of your siblings, because of all the fire signs, you are the most likely to use the flames and not even realize what you are doing. You fear my stinger—that tail always up, always so oversensitive.

If you were a Capricorn, you would intrigue me. Of all the signs, I will spend the longest following you. Not because I know you love me, but because I can never be sure what you feel.

I will glitter to you only if I am useful or if you’re alone — you rarely are — or need something I can provide better than others can. It’s the way of the goat as you bound up your mountain peaks. You must progress. Ever higher. You reach: it’s the fundamental truth of you. I have to put my tail down to keep up. That’s a vulnerability I don’t allow with most. And I only do it for you because every so often I see the silly kid that gambols and makes me laugh.

But you will keep rising. You’re destined to lead, and I can only organize so long for you before my desire to feel that you love me outstrips your ability to sense what I need. Saturn gives you insight on how to rise, on how to pull others to you. But you’re not designed to look as deep as I need you to. You have things to do, and I need to get out of your way.

I’ll regret having met you but also know that if given a chance to do it over, I’d follow you again. You’ll move on, eyeing me with guilt, occasionally showing up where I am. We’ll feel the vestiges of magic, remember why it was we came together, and then part, doing nothing more than talk.

If you were an Aquarius, you should baffle me but you won’t. The water bearer’s an air sign; that alone should be a conundrum I cannot figure out, but I will. You organize as I do. You also love to explore the mysteries, but you do it from a distance while I dive in. I have to feel; you have to think. But still, we will seek the same waters to explore. You’re ruled by Uranus, an outer planet like mine. We’re used to seeking roads that are untraveled.

Our sex will be problematic -— you holding yourself apart, me wanting everything. We part before we’re really done. I’ll watch you from a distance, and some part of us will be joined even if the rest of us cannot get away fast enough. Few other signs will seek the unknown the way you do. I’ll always cherish that.

If you were a Pisces, I’d believe I’d found heaven. You dream the impossible; you take the emotion I feel but can’t express and send it out, your communicator role clear. You’re like mist wafting over a desert patio, cooling everything, making the place welcoming and comfortable.

My ruler Pluto can see your planet Neptune. We’re more than lovers, we’re siblings. I have come home.

I’ll think I should have started with you. Why did I wait so long? Why did I try the other signs when you’re perfection? Our sex will be wonderful. You’re not afraid to mine emotions the way I’ve dreamed of doing, to share poems and favorite sayings, written into a card, topped with a rose.

I am foolishly, desperately in love.

Until you forget to call. To come home. To tell me you were going out of town on a weekend we had plans. Until you fail to keep a promise. Until your dreams of freedom interfere with my fantasies of permanence.

I’ll call you soft. You’ll call me hard. We’ll be right and wrong both. You’ll dive into the water and find your own kind, swirling like a school of the fish you are, Neptune adding fog so I cannot find you from my place on the beach.

Tail up, of course. Stinger ready. For you’re not wrong. I am hard.

I leave you. I always leave you. You want me back, but you won’t change and I won’t accept your true nature, and love cannot live in that house.

So here I am. I’ve run out of signs. I’m alone.

If I weren’t a Scorpio, none of this might be true. I might not dare to categorize the world of choices open to me in twelve ways, as if that’s all there is. I might not think myself right, even if I’m not. Although I usually am right, but people don’t always listen because who wants to believe someone so arrogant?

You see, because I’m a Scorpio, I can say these things. I can admit I might be wrong. Because that, in its way, is just the same arrogance, isn’t it? Another form of knowing everything by saying I might know nothing. Because I understand the world.

Gods, I’m annoying. If I were an Aries…

But no. That’s not fair. I’m not.

And this is truth. From my perspective, based on the angles between us, this is truth. From your perspective, the signs might read quite differently.

This is truth from my sun sign to yours. That too is important. That this is only using the one factor. For me, with my sun and four other planets governed by the scorpion, I am essentially Scorpio. Your chart may mitigate your sun-inspired nature but mine only reinforces it.

That’s the beauty of this, isn’t it? That we can be so much more than just one twelfth of a system.

Or of the western system, anyway. From this Chinese wheel, I see I’m the Ox and I don’t understand the intricacies of that, how other factors might play. I wish I could tell you how we’d get along in that zodiac. Maybe I’d have better fortune.

Maybe the Ox would be a better avatar than a scorpion.

Although Scorpios secretly love what we are. Understand that, if nothing else. We cherish our depths, our mysteries, our force of will, and our sexuality. We even cherish our stinger.

If you were a Scorpio, you’d understand.

[Gerri Leen lives in Northern Virginia and originally hails from Seattle. In addition to being an avid reader, she’s passionate about horse racing, tea, whisky, ASMR vids, and creating weird tacos. She has work appearing in Nature, Escape PodDaily Science FictionCast of Wonders, and others. She’s edited several anthologies for independent presses, is finishing some longer projects, and is a member of SFWA and HWA. See more at http://www.gerrileen.com or tweet @GerriLeen.]