Monica walked away from the fortune-teller’s office satisfied. The cards assured that she will have the custody of her three-year old daughter by the end of the year. The last time she met the fortune-teller, she was told she’ll get married and live overseas. Peter happened to her the same year and she did settle in Norway for two years before she divorced him and flew back to the states. The fortune-teller had also predicted an episode of ill-health that could last as long as six months. On the day the elevator of her building was being repaired, Monica had to stop thrice to catch her breath while climbing stairs to reach her apartment on the first floor. She was aware she wasn’t the same but she didn’t want to do anything about it. Her medical insurance had expired, and she knew that the doctor would prescribe Varenicline so that she could quit smoking. She wasn’t ready. “I’ll quit when I’ll have my daughter back”, she told herself.
Patricia left work for home. She stopped-by to pick steak for dinner. Martin wouldn’t cook today as he would be working on that MWV presentation, she thought to herself. As soon as she opened the door to her apartment, she saw Martin sitting on the kitchen table, filling a PowerPoint sheet with pictorials.
“Hi love; are you done yet, questioned Patricia?”
“There’s some coffee on the table, I’ll be with you in a second”, said Martin.
With the cup of coffee, Patricia sat down on the table facing Martin. She stumbled upon a magazine, and as if unconsciously, turned the page to the horoscope section.
“It seemed you had a tiring day at work”, said Martin upon finding her fidgeting with her nails.
“Yeah, it was, kinda.”
“Did Monica drop-by?” quizzed Martin with raised eyebrows.
“Yes, she did”, said Patricia nervously.
“What did you tell her?”
“What she wanted to hear, like always.”
Martin could see pain in her eyes when she seemed to be looking in his eyes. But Patricia was staring into the past. She saw two young girls. She remembered that fateful day when she jestingly told Monica that she could decipher her future from the lines on her hand. She saw the day Monica came back running to her, telling her that the prediction had come true, that her application was indeed accepted by the Harvard Business School. She could see herself withholding the truth the first time. Then she saw herself feeding lies to Monica repeatedly, hoping that one day they would prove untrue and Monica would stop coming to her. But one after the other, all her predictions came true. From untimely death of Monica’s parents to her dropping out of the business school because she wanted to marry Peter, the man of her dreams; and from Monica’s divorce to the auction of her parents’ home, and to the subsequent loss of her daughter’s custody because of her bankruptcy as well as drinking and smoking problem – it was all prophesied by Patricia before it actually happened.
Patricia felt she that was shaping Monica’s destiny and not actually reading it. Or was Monica defining Patricia’s future? How will Monica react if she finds out that all misfortune in her life was not written by God, it was instead put there by one of his creations that Monica trusted so blindly? She shuddered at the thought. It was followed by the expression of determination bordering relief. She was certain of what she will tell Monica in their next meeting.
“What are we having for dinner?” inquired Martin.
“Cancer”, her tongue slipped unconsciously.
They looked at each other. And in that moment Martin realized it was too late. A fortune-teller was born.