„I have to talk to you. When I told you I earn my money as a waitress in that bistro... I didn't tell the truth."
Mauricio raises an eyebrow. „You lied to me?“
„Yes. And I'm sorry about that. I was afraid of how you'd react when I tell you what my job really is. The truth is... You've seen that gypsy wagon next to the graveyard. I work there. As a fortune teller."
Mauricio bursts out in laughter. „Is this some kind of late april's fools prank?“
"No, I'm serious...", Celestine sighs then points at the bed. This will be a longer conversation. "Sit down, I guess I owe you an explanation.“
„You definitely do!“, Mauricio exclaims while he makes himself comfortable on the bed, "Why didn't you tell me earlier?"
"I was afraid you'd think badly of me because I...", Celestine pauses, struggling to find the right words.
„Because you're a scammer? You earn your living by lying to naive or crazy people.“, he completes her sentence without showing any emotion on his face. He isn't sure what to think of this yet and wants to hear the whole story. „Or are you trying to tell me that you actually believe in this stuff and you're some kind of medium?
„That's … no! It's not like this.“ Celestine sighs once more. This is exactly why she hasn't told him for so long. „I'm not a scammer and I like my clients. I like my job. Yes, most of my clients are rather naive and yes, I don't really have any supernatural powers. But I genuinely want to help them. I listen to them, talk to them, I'm their advisor and counselor.“
„Look, as long as you don't do anything illegal I don't really care but... It's an odd profession to say the least. How did you get into it?“
"Hmm...", Celestine thinks and decides that telling half the story will be enough for now, „simply put my first client had me mixed up with a lady who used to do readings. I played along, pretending to be said lady, and got some money for it.
[Are you Madame Sari? I imagined you older...]
"What are these clients like? What kind of people come to you?"
"The majority are middle-aged to elderly women. The younger ones are usually concerned about love, relationships, family, finances and career – the most common topics. Older people ask more health related questions. Most are regulars, walk-in customers are rare; except for the summer months when tourists sometimes walk by and want to give it a try. These are typically younger than my regular clients and often don't really believe in fortune telling; they just do it out of curiosity. I put a bit of a show on for them and alllow myself to go a little crazy with my readings."
[Celestine puts her hand on the woman's face and speaks in an overly dramatic voice. „Be very quiet now, please. I need full concentration to communicate with the universe! Let us see what the stars have destined you to be!“]
"When I meet them for the first time I normally start by making guesses based on my first impression of them or what they told me before if they called for an appointment. This is to gain their trust and have a starting point for my reading. Some are easily impressed, others are sceptical and harder to work with.
["I can sense you have a conflict with a friend or relative.", Celestine chants in a soft voice. "Oh really?! Who doesn't?", the woman scoffs angrily, "I don't need a fortune teller for this!"]
When I feel like I have them on my side, got some crucial information, and asked them what they want to know, the actual reading begins. I'm mostly doing horoscopes, which are very complicated and therefore the most expensive option, but other methods are popular too: tarot cards, palm readings, crystal ball.
Regardless of the method, most of the information comes from the client, not me, even though I do the most talking. I make guesses based on their age, gender, appearance, or what we have talked about so far and then have to quickly pick up on subtle cues and body language to see if what I'm saying makes sense to them or not.
I always try to make my reading a positive and uplifting experience for my client and avoid negative predictions." Celestine pauses briefly. "Well, unless they are really, really rude. In that case I might foresee death and despair."
„So you just tell them what they want to hear.“, Mauricio sums up, ignoring the last part.
"You say that like it's a bad thing! More often than not this is all they really need. I'm sure you heard about self-fulfilling prophecies? I work with this concept a lot. Convince them they can do it, and all of a sudden they can."
["I will find... my love?That's what it says?", the shy man asks with disbelief. "Yes, I can see it very clearly. You will notice that she's the one when you see her. And you will gather all your confidence and ask her out."]
"Sometimes people will ask me to contact their deceased husbands, children, or other loved ones that passed away too early. These are cases that I take very seriously, I do a lot of comforting, let them cry and listen patiently. And no matter what the client told me before, I always make sure to tell them that the deceased one holds no grudge against them. It is always their biggest fear; they feel guilty about an arguement they had before the death or think they could have prevented it, especially if it was a suicide. If the deceased person is buried on the graveyard nearby I offer them to visit the grave together.
[Close your eyes. Do you feel her presence? Do you hear her voice? Listen to the wind... hear her whispers... She will always be your daughter, always love you. And she wants you to know that nothing you could have done would have prevented this. She wants you to move on and be happy. You still have your life. Live it.]
"But why do these people not just consult a real therapist?"
"There are many reasons. Some are too proud to admit they are the ones who have a problem, and prefer to see their issues as something outside of their responsibility. Some want a quick solution – magic! - rather than having to work on themselves for months or even years. For others it is a cost issue. I'm much cheaper than a therapist!", Celestine laughs.
For a while Mauricio and Celestine just lie on their bed, not saying a word, staring ahead and processing everything they just talked about.
„My girlfriend, the fortune teller...“, Mauricio finally breaks the silence with a little laugh. „That's crazy. Can you see my future too?“, he asks jokingly.
Celestine looks away. Just say it. It's already confession time, isn't it? If you don't say it now, how long will you wait this time? You can't wait forever.
„Can you?“, he repeats, interrupting Celestine's inner monologue.
She takes a deep breath. „Yes, actually. Yes, I can.“ She laughs nervously and does some cliché magical fortune telling gestures to give herself time to think about the right words. She giggles for a few seconds, partially due to the absurdity of the situation but mainly out of nervousness, before she finally manages to pull herself together:
„The stars have told me...
… that in about 7 months from now... you will become a father.“
For a few seconds Mauricio just sits there with his eyes and mouth wide open. Then his eyes become watery, and a wide grin appears on his face.
AN: Wow, this chapter was so much fun to write! I love the fortune teller roll.
If you're wondering about the title, that's her fortune teller alias. Sari is of course the old lady that she "inherited" the gypsy wagon from and then she added 'Moon' to it as a last name to make it her name and make it sound cool and mysterious and because I like anagrams.