Another short story inspired by a March situation prompt – You have an uninvited guest at the party. My tale took another path so I will share it as it is.
A palm reader
Twenty people gathered around a long table in a restaurant for a fiftieth birthday. I checked the menu while my neighbours were discussing a new sushi bar praising a green smoothie as a starter of a day. My brain was screaming. Out of rage, I ordered a well-done stake but couldn’t swallow a bite. I was chewing on a salad when I saw radiating eyes looking through a window.
Her hair was grey and plated, but I couldn’t tell her age. I asked a waiter to pack food from my plate to take away. I excused myself and left the party. The lady took a stake for her dog and asked if she can read my palm in exchange for a fruit salad. I agreed.
As she was examining lines of my palm, she started to talk in a foreign language. She was smiling and putting on a severe face. Once she was done with reading, she finished the salad, took the last sip of a tea and left.
She was much younger on a picture, but I recognized her. It was an obituary in a Sunday newspaper. She was a circus performer, palm reader and a war pilot stationed in England during the second world war. I believed what she read in my palm was an adventurous life ahead of me.
TellTaleThursday April 4, 2019. Prompt for this week –
A Silent Prayer
It was my second VIP group I was guiding through an island which was known as the place where gods still walk. I lived here for ages but never spotted one. Well, people love stories and myths, and the tourist industry loves it too. It sells well.
I counted the group as they entered the bus. One person was missing. I checked the list again and realized that a missing person is a lady who was added to the group as a latecomer and her name was handwritten at the end of the list. I could not remember her face, but I remembered her white shawl. She had it with her all the time. I heard murmurs and complains coming from the back of the bus. I had to do something immediately, or I will be in trouble. If my boss finds out I lost another visitor I will get fired and will never get another guide job.
I closed my eyes and decided to pry.
„Dear gods, please help me find the lady with a white shawl.“
As I finished the prayer someone pulled my arm.
„Ms. Bandara, I am sorry you had to wait for me. I lost track of time listening to the bird’s music. Please, can Ms. Nedirath get a bus ride, she lives near our hotel.“
As a driver started the engine, I sat silently. It is true. They walk. Ms. Nedirath left the bus before I was able to thank her in person.
A mobile phone beeped at five in the morning. I postponed it three times before I got up, even I knew I would be late for a six o’clock train. The air in the room was hot, and I took a long shower. There was no need to rush out to see the train leaving the platform. I put cattle on the stove and decided to have a proper breakfast. Tea was strong; I added one sugar and a few drops of lemon. Tost was crispy, and the strawberry jam was melting down the throat. I made a promise to make a habit of having breakfast before leaving the flat. I also knew it would be hard to keep the promise, but that morning I was very enthusiastic.
Seven o’clock train arrived at half past seven. I didn’t question it. I took the first free seat and got lost between headlines on a mobile screen. My eyes jumped from one headline to another. I didn’t spot a terrorist attack, a new presidential outburst or drunk celebrity. I put the phone in the bag.
When I entered the office building, beautiful women smiled at me. She greeted me and asked if I am on the list.
„What do you mean, on the list?“ I asked her.
„Sunday list, are you on the Sunday list?“ She replayed politely.
„Yes, you have to be on the list to enter the building.“
The alarm clock was beeping. On the way to the train station, I felt the sweetness of the strawberry jam in my stomach. I promised to have a proper breakfast on Sunday. I had to go through another Friday.
The church bells started ringing when I heard roaring coming from underneath the bed. I thought I have to keep calm. My husband was sleeping on the side of bed close to the balcony which was open. People were chatting, laughing, walking. I could hear a liquid poured into glasses and music playing. We were on our yearly summer vacation trip — the Mediterranean. We used to have sex a lot on vacation. Since he got his job promotion, he lost his appetite. I didn’t.
That morning, at the pool, I bumped into a nicely tanned, healthy-looking man with beautiful sparkly eyes. We started to talk. I got excited. I felt chills, and I whispered him my wild wishes. He smiled, nodded and roared quietly. I was fond of wildcats.
I was finishing the peach sorbet when a waiter delivered a note. It was short, messy, handwritten – midnight, roaring, underneath the bed. I didn’t understand it, but I decided to follow my instincts.
I almost dozed off when I heard that roaring sound. I opened my eyes. O, no, he is under our bed?! How he managed to get there without me noticing him earlier?
We met again by the pool. We nodded. Perfectly pressed security officer uniform looked great on him.
I was dancing around the kitchen table in excitement. I did not have the patience to finish a slice of bread and a glass of milk, but the grandmother was determined.
„My child, she told me, „breakfast is the most important meal of the day. If you skip it, you will not have enough strength during the day. Sit and finish the meal.“
„No grandmum, I am not charmed with your big watery eyes.“
„It is my birthday, can I be excused?“
Grandmum was tough, and I knew she would not yield. When we finished cleaning up the table she asked me to bring her some flowers from the garden.
As I opened the front door, a big parcel stood on the ground. It was wrapped in a white paper and tied with the yellow ribbon. I ripped the paper hoping my wish has come true. There was my red bicycle with a trumpet as a bell. I squeeze it several times, and I yelled:
„ Grandmum, come, come, see what I got as a birthday present!“
Grandmum was standing at the door smiling. Till the end of the day, I had a plaster on my knee, but I did not complain. I knew the summer holidays would be the best with my new bicycle.