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My future was never more unsettled. My fiancé had suddenly changed his mind and my parents died this year. The only family I had was across the continent and it felt like my personal world had spun off its axis.
I needed solidity and clarity; something to anchor myself to that would get me through a future too fraught with perilous unknowns. Though I was terrified and didn’t want to know, I had to know who or what my solid rock would be. Where is my safe port from the storms, I wondered.
The cloying question grated on my last, raw nerve until I was forced to do something dire. It was the only option left to me. I had to go see the gypsy witch. It was said she would read a fortune in exchange for cash, but only if she sensed desperation.
Lavinia lived on the outskirts of town, shrouded in mystery and spoken of in hushed tones of gossip at the grocery mart or any other place where town folk tended to gather, though Lavinia was never one of them.
From time to time it did strike me as peculiar and I wondered why she was never seen out and about, though I had not given it much thought until now. She’s certainly as human as any of us, I thought. Doesn’t she buy groceries or go out to do anything? I wondered, but it didn’t resolve my unease.
Every October the whispers would start. Mothers readied their children for Halloween, ensuring perfect costumes and a plentiful supply of candy, but steering their kids clear of the Victorian house with turrets hugging the town’s northern border.
I pressed the last of my paycheck into her palm wondering if she would know just how desperate I was, while she fondled her crystal ball. Glaring up at me she spat hatefully, in a thick acid-tinged Romani, “There is no love and no marriage in your future,” though I had not yet screwed up the courage to ask. “You shouldn’t be here,” she stated insistently, as she clawed my elbow to escort me back to the door. “Don’t come back here again”.
With that, Lavinia nearly shoved me out of the house and bolted the latch immediately. It was the sound of finality and the beginning of my foretold future; people pushing me away, slamming doors in my face, no love, no marriage, no children, no life, no one and nothing!
For a long moment I stood there, frozen in shock and terror, until indignance tunneled to the surface and won out. I pummeled the door she had just thrown me out of, screaming, “Lavinia! Lavinia, you answer me! I can’t leave, I have no answers! I paid you for answers,” but no answer was forthcoming. She ignored my presence as well as my pleas. I no longer existed for her.
I knew it was the beginning of the end. She did, in fact, answer the question I came to as, even without having to voice it, I silently berated myself and gathered my wits about me to begin the journey back to my empty house. I decided to walk in the bracing October air, grasping at anything that might discredit her when tears of impotence stung my eyes and spilled down my face.
I stifled a gasp at the echoes of laughter emanating from a nearby home while I descended into the hell my life had just become. The future is settled now, such as it is, I have the answers I no longer wanted and instantly regretted receiving. I will live in the sort of exile that Lavinia knows all about, I realized, and then ducked into an alley and wept.
©August 31, 2017 – 09:48 PM
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