Fortunes Told While You Wait
by Angela N. Hunt
“You will marry a tall, dark and handsome man. He will be your orthodontist,” said Merriweather Mieyerthen, craning over her tarot cards.
Her client gasped.
It was always the same, Merri thought, after her soon-to-be-wed-to-an-orthodontist client left. People had futures worth having, even if they were simple.
She came to the local coffee shop every day. Told fortunes with her cards while people waited for their cappuccinos and mochas. Saw futures of every shape and size.
But never her own. The cards always remained blank.
She knew her own story well, if not her future. How her Baba had come out of seclusion for her baptism. How she had given the baby Merri her Naming and Gift. How her mother had screamed, “No!” when Baba spoke her blessing. Only it had been the Curse of the Mieyerthen women, the same curse spoken for over ten centuries.
Merri was the Third. Gifted with True Sight, she would see the futures of all people. All people except her own, until such time as True Love should seek her for his own. And as always, he would be accompanied by Temptation, with no way for her to tell twixt the two, except that he would know her true future, and he would die for Love.
As it had been her Baba’s.
And Baba had chosen poorly.
Merri scooped up the cards and closed them into a solid deck. Slipped them into their green satin pouch, finished for the day. The futures of the shop’s customers unraveled before her mind’s eye in a Technicolor rainbow of possibility, but no one showed interest in her little table. No flare in the rainbows drew her eye as it did with a potential client.
She stepped up to the counter and ordered another mocha before stepping out of The Bean, rainbow macramé satchel slung over her shoulder. She pushed out the door into golden afternoon light that already lay edged with the pinks and purples of another glorious Southern California sunset. She smiled, turned about and walked right into two men.
And nearly dropped her mocha.
They had no futures.
They smiled. She smiled in return out of reflex. Her heart did a little double flip.
Both, more than passing handsome, one dark, one fair, eyes the identical brilliant blue of a So Cal noonday sky.
It didn’t take a fortune teller to know that her Baba’s prophecy had chosen that day to show up.
Merri’s smile faded, replaced by a small frown.
She’d waited her whole life for this moment. She’d done nothing else but think about it, ever since she’d been old enough to understand the conundrum her Baba had left her along with the Mieyerthen women’s gift/curse.
“Before you even open your mouths, let me just tell you,” Merri said.
“Tell us what?” the fair one asked, his grin disarming.
“I don’t know why my Baba didn’t do this, but I’m doing it now.”
Merri reached up and patted each of the men on the cheek, first the fair one, then the dark. She took a long look at each of them. Smiled wistfully. Took a deep breath.
“Hell no,” she said with finality, and walked away.
The fair-haired gentleman burst out laughing. The dark-haired one chased after her. The fair one saluted the two of them and sauntered off, laughing all the while.
“Wait!” her pursuer called. He caught up at her little blue VW bug.
“What?” Merri asked, dumping her satchel into the car and slamming the passenger door.
“Just...” he paused, taken aback by her glare. “Just wait.”
“Uh...” He threw up his hands in defeat. “Hi?”
“Hi. Now go away.” Merri pulled open the driver side door.
“No, please wait. I promise to go away if you’ll just answer one question.”
Merri paused, one foot in and one foot out of the car.
“All right. Shoot.”
“Why ‘hell no’?” He seemed genuinely perplexed. Even more so when her answer was prompt and immediate.
She took a deep breath, surprised that now, with the moment upon her, it proved more difficult than she had thought. The man in front of her was breathtakingly handsome.
“True Love isn’t a trick and would never make a person choose,” she said.
She seated herself in the car, fumbled with her keys.
His befuddlement vanished, replaced by regret.
“You’re right,” he said and shut her door as she turned the engine over, the little VW sputtering to life.
She put the car in gear.
“Wait one more time?”
She took the car out of gear.
“You’re right. And you’ve broken the curse. I would have fallen in love with you on sight. But breaking the curse? I think I’ll love you for that forever. I just wanted to tell you, you do have a future worth having. I know you think you don’t. I’m sorry your answer is ‘hell no’. Though I’m glad I won’t have to die for love, but...” he took a deep breath. “Today’s not the first time I’ve ever seen you.”
“What?” Merri asked, feeling stupid and slow in the face of his declaration.
“It’s not the first time. Curse or no curse, it’s not. And well...” he took another breath. “I know you said ‘hell no’, but...”
He threw up his hands again, put them in his pockets. “I come here every Saturday. Can I at least buy you a mocha? To say thank you?”
Merri still couldn’t see his future. She couldn’t see her own. But for the first time ever, she didn’t feel a need to see the future.
She smiled. “Sure.” She put the car back in gear. “But the answer is still ‘hell no’.”
She paused before giving the car gas, to give him one last smile and a hope.
Copyright © 2006 by Angela N. Hunt