Come into my caravan, she beckoned. She fixed her dark eyes on me, looked into my soul and made me come forward. My fate was in her hands. Within the next few moments, all would be revealed. What would the future hold? Well for a fiver, I could find out.
Actually she didn’t beckon me into her caravan. In fact, when I walked by, she was texting on her mobile phone. But I loved the tiny caravan she was sitting in. It was a human sized replica of the Sylvanian Famillies toy I had when I was seven. It was painted green and red and two signs read that she was a true gypsy fortune teller, gifted by her Welsh grandmother and kids cost £2.50 and adults £5.
We made our way up the ladder steps, unsure of how to announce ourselves. ‘Two of us’, I said, as if asking for a table in a restaurant. She waved us to sit down and I sat, trying to force my bottom into a small crate with a cushion in it. There was no table. A tiny stove, alive with flames, flickered at our feet. ‘It’s very cosy,’ we commented, as she threw more sticks into it. She had no interest in small talk.
‘Do you want the half reading or a full reading. Full reading is £10.’ What?! The sign said £5. I was being ripped off already. Before I could negotiate she ordered me to hold out my left hand. And then she was off, a mad glint in her eye.
‘You’re stubborn. You’re a nag. You have to watch that because you can be too much of a nag. You’re possessive. And you don’t mind me saying so. There are two men in your life who love you. There’s a man who broke your heart, but he wasn’t the right one for you. One of them wouldn’t change a thing about you. He’s your soul mate. There are no more marriages for you. You’ll have a ring on your finger at 37. Have you one child or two?’
I looked at her, aghast. I was still thinking about the fiver versus tenner reading and here she was listing my faults and talking about my soul mate. Emm, I replied, trying to explain that I have a baby, but my husband also has a daughter. Confirmed, she continued.
‘You’ll have a son within two years. He’ll make you proud. You’ll have a career change in March. You’ll keep your hair long, because it suits you and you don’t mind me saying so. You don’t need alcohol to have a good time.’ She paused and repeated herself. ‘You don’t need alcohol to have a good time’. Shit, I thought. We were sitting so close she must be able to smell last night through my pores.
“There’s a silver car coming your way. There are two people close to you who have died. One was their time to go, they were old; the other was young. You will live to be old. You’re good with pen and paper and computers. Is there a question you’d like to ask me?’
I still had my left hand, hung half way in the air. She had filled me with my whole future in the space of a minute and half. She had stared at me for most of it, once or twice flicking her eyes to my hand -looking for a life line I expect. I was unnerved.
I didn’t really have a question to ask her. Do you see music in my future, I asked her. I thought this was a pretty safe question, as I didn’t want to know any bad news. You won’t be famous, like she want, she said smiling at me. I don’t want to be famous, I said. She seemed to think I did. And that was it. That was my reading.
She wasted no time in moving onto my friend perched beside me. Another list of predictions, delivered as predetermined fact. Love life troubles, health predictions, money, career, wealth. For each claim she got right, I exclaimed and gently whacked my friend on the arm – confirmation that the fortune teller was right!
Soon the second reading was over too. We were ready to go on our way, our fate laid out before us. We crossed her palm with paper and made our way out of the cosy caravan. Wow, we thought. That was great. She got so many things right. Did you hear what she said?
We walked along the quays of Newcastle, past the market stalls, excitedly listing all the information she had disclosed to us. We repeated her predictions, casting them into our minds, so that when they did happen we could look back and say: this was in the stars!
I started thinking back on what she had told us. I realised she had asked us to hold out our left hands – immediately giving away a lot. I had an engagement and wedding ring on, my friend did not, hence my predicted ‘one’ marriage and a more interesting love life for my sidekick. My friend was wearing an expensive watch; the fortune teller told her she liked to spend money. She said I had lost two people close to me, one young, one old. Sure who can’t relate to this scenario by the time they are 31?
Still, understanding that we couldn’t possibly take what she had told us too seriously, it was too much fun not to have given it a go. I rang the husband straight away to let him know there was a son on the way, and bloody hell, the fortune teller said exactly what he tells me all the time – I’m a nag! And as we made our way back to the hotel, I double checked the road as we crossed it. She’d predicted a silver car coming my way. And I wasn’t taking any chances.