“What does that mean?” I asked the mystic.
“You seem to be conflicted.” She said, “That will be £20.”
“But what do I do about it?” I moaned, pulling a crisp note from my purse.
“Listen sister, there's nothing you can do – that's just your path. You're a life pendulum; your head always argues against your heart.” She patted my arm, took my note, and turned to the client behind me.
“I could have told her that!” I muttered as I moved away to a neighbouring stall and began fingering the gemstones, “What kind of a psychic fayre is this?!”
In front of me was a handwritten card which said: LUCKY OPALS. The overhead lights bounced off a collection of polished stones. They looked as though they'd been rubbed too aggressively. My hand was drawn to a baby pink.
“That one's for opening up the heart, and it's particularly good for a life pendulum.” A male voice, which I presumed was the stall-holder, softly informed me. I didn't look up as I was too taken with stroking the stone's smooth surface. It was cool to the touch, but soon warmed up under my fingers. My palms were tingling...
“No, I don't want it!!” I hastily said and threw it back on the table. It ricocheted off and landed at my planted feet.
A stranger, whose presence I hadn't felt before, bent down to retrieve it.
“This opal obviously wants to belong to you, even if you don't wish to own it. You must accept it. It will balance you.” It was the same male voice that had spoken earlier. He gently touched my clenched left hand, but I refused to open it.
“Who are you? How do you know I've been told I'm a life pendulum? Is this how these fayres work? A psychic circuit?” I trailed my gaze slowly upwards as I flung these questions at him.
His face had an unusual glow and his eyes burnt into me. I inhaled sharply, but couldn't look away and break his penetrating stare.
“You must keep this stone. It's time.” He calmly stated, placing the opal in my now relaxed hand and closing my fingers around it. “It's a gift. I've paid for it.”
I was stunned! A few seconds passed before I recovered my senses. I expected to still see him standing there, but he'd disappeared! I spun around scanning the crowd, but I hadn't taken in what he was wearing, just his piercing blue eyes and dirty blond hair. I raced out the exit, but there was no sign of him.
“Just like me to waste an opportunity!” I cursed.
I unfurled my left hand and studied the opal; there were tiny words inscribed on the underside, which I read aloud: OPEN YOUR HEART TO YOURSELF.
*Inspired by Beyond Black by Hilary Mantel.