Notes from Janey . . .
I’m in Greece. I’ve just turned 20, and I’m about to have my fortune read. I didn’t go willingly. I had no interest what-so-ever of knowing my future because I was having a great time traveling the world on a backpack and a prayer, and I didn’t need some gypsy telling me where my path was taking me. I wanted to find out for myself.
It’s like Christmas morning – Why would I want to know what was in my gifts and spoil the surprise?
I also innately knew that our momentum into future events can change at any moment because of free will. I was flexing my free will muscles on a daily basis. They were becoming resilient and strong.
But I have to admit, I was a tiny bit intrigued. A fortune teller in Greece – how could I pass up this experience? And like I said, I was up for surprises.
My first surprise came when we didn’t walk down a creepy path to find a secluded hut in the dark hills, but took a bus to a middle class suburb of Athens. No bead curtains. No crystal balls and candles. No scarves and long skirts, heavy make-up or enchantment. She was a housewife. A plainly-dressed, American woman living off-base with her Army husband.
We sat around her Formica table under florescent lights and drank dense Greek coffee in little cups. When we were done, the thick grounds settled to the bottom. She flipped the cups upside down on each of the saucers and then talked about the latest presidential election.
My friend, Laura, a worldly woman from California and who has seen it all at the rip old age of 22, was first. The fortune teller looked at the mass of coffee grounds in her cup and talked in generalities. I don’t remember one thing she said to her. I just remember what she said to me.
She flipped over my cup, looked inside, gasped and turned it back over. She looked to her husband for guidance, her hand over her mouth. I stood up abruptly, my chair falling behind me. I pushed my hands out to her as if to stop an ill wind from forming.
“I don’t want to know!” I said.
Laura reached up and touched my arm.
“Janey,” she said in a soft tone, “This is just bullshit.”
She knew me well. She knew how much I trusted her. I took a deep breath and sat back down.
“I see death,” the woman said softly. “And soon.”
My mind quickly scanned the faces of my family back in the States. My heart clenched. Laura put her hand on my arm again. She squeezed. I got the message, and took another deep breath to calm down. I began to chant silently, this-is-bullshit, this-is-bullshit.
“It’s major, and it’s close.” The woman acted as if her words were rebelling to come out. I didn’t want to know specifics, but she didn’t let on that she knew any. I was relieved when we finally got out of there.
I wish I could say I believed Laura and not the fortune-telling woman, but my mind replayed her words over and over. Until one day, insight hit, and I laughed in the face of death.
This fortune telling episode happened during the first year of traveling when I had escaped the conventions of being a predictable hometown girl to find my own way. I was learning everyday about myself. It was shocking and thrilling and scary. I was exploring my freedom, my emotions, my inner voice. It was a brand new world. The old me had died. This death was major and it was close.
How about that? The old gal was right after all. What a nice surprise.
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