For some reason I’d only imagined gypsies as either young and passionate or very, very old, but this fortune-teller was neither. She was my age…although you wouldn’t know it by looking at her. It wasn’t because of the wrinkles stretching across her face or the gray strands crinkling their way through her, otherwise, coal-black hair. It was the knowing look in her green eyes that had aged her. Her life lessons had taught her how to survive…above all else.
After a rumbling cough she removed the cigarette stub from between her cracked lips, snuffing it out on the tip of her middle finger before flicking it into the grass. “Give me your hand,” she commanded with a rich, throaty voice.
I held out my palm and she grasped it between large hands that were thick and rough like a man’s. I felt the vitality of this woman coursing through me, plucking at my tendons and buzzing up my arm. The gypsy’s eyes closed and her head tilted backwards. Light coming from a campfire behind her cast an orange aura around her body.
Without warning the woman let out a high-pitched scream that cracked the stillness of the night like a whip. Sparks from the fire burst skyward. Leaning further back, the gypsy dragged my hand closer to her body but I resisted. A stronger current of electricity surged between us and she dug her fingers deep into my flesh.
“Stop!” she yelled. My body weakened and I obediently sat back down. Leaning forward, she whispered, “You are special, my child. You have been selected… one among millions.” I leaned in, too, intense interest obliterating all my fears.
“You are to go out into the world and explore it. You will meet many people.” Her eyes drilled into me until I was sure they could see my soul. “You will use your gifts to unite the believers. You will lead them home.”
She paused, closing her eyes and swaying from side-to-side rhythmically.
I waited a moment then dared to ask, “How will I do it?”
The swaying ceased. She took in a deep breath, slowly…deliberately…exhaling a cloud that vanished in the frosty air.
Sparkling emerald eyes bore into my baby blues and a sly smile split her face as she let go of my hand …
“Twenty dollars more.”