I went to the Psychic Fair.
Why? I’m not sure.
There was something I was meaning to find. I knew I wasn’t going to know what it was until I did. So I wandered among stands of people selling their palmistry services, staring dazed into tiny, pretty teacups, holding up chinking crystals to the sallow lights of the convention hall… words and phrases like “future” and “age lines” and “crystal ball” were being tossed around in gentle, hushed whispers, as though everyone in the room had a secret they were hoping to keep, even when spoken aloud amongst hundreds of people.
I sat down next to an obese woman with a bald head. She held a staff in her hand of winding, braided wood full of knot holes. Her eyelids were like soft sacks of flesh and she surveyed me with the glinting black pupils beneath them.
“So you’re looking to get your fortune told,” she began, and she smiled. Kindly, I thought, with an air of mischief.
“Don’t young people usually prefer to tell their future?” she asked. And she laughed when she said it.
I sat down beside her; instead of telling me my future, the psychic told me about her childhood; the teasing, the travelling, her strict army father, her strict religious mother, her very first love – a girl – and her first heartbreak when the girl was beat up at school by an older girl and refused to date girls ever again. The psychic’s eyes shone with tears when she spoke of this. She gripped the staff with wrinkled, white knuckles. She told me she could see the future of her life once when she was walking by the river and peered into the water and saw images. On the river bank, she found this staff of wood. Something told her to pick it up. The images of the water, the staff… it was magical. There were spirits there, she said. In the water, watching her on the bank.
“What does the staff do?”
“That, I can’t tell you,” she said. “It’s my only secret.”
I walked away from the table, her stories still burning in my mind, manifesting themselves, tumbling over and over. I left the psychic fair that day, and I thought of my future again; now, I knew what I had to do.