Busting Madam Marie

Submitted into Contest #152 in response to: Set your story in an oracle or a fortune teller’s parlor.... view prompt


Fantasy Historical Fiction

She didn't have any fancy degrees but she knew better than anyone. My dad mocked her essential oils and tarot cards, but I let her keep them. When everything else in the world felt like it was piling on top of me, it was nice to feel like my future could be determined in the stars or in my palm. And when we know so little about the world, why would it not be? I'm a gemini, the twins. I oscillate back and forth between hard-working determination and intense despair, between love and disgust, between stable self love and intense confusion.

I live near the boardwalk in Asbury Park, NJ. I work 5 days a week at a small diner, serving tables with french fries and grilled cheese and coffee with sugar. It's an enclave from the grime and cigarette butts on the street and the crime, the drunks falling onto the beach.

Everyone wants to get out these days but I hold onto this place with a tight grip. Somehow things are more real here, there is no veil blocking the reality of the harshness of existence from view. Sometimes things that are manufactured, completely fake and plastic are more real. Like the pinball machines at the arcade, they unabashedly embrace their cheesiness, the way they mindlessly suck money from customers and give them pencils in return.

I've never actually seen Madam Marie, but I walk by her office every day. Sometimes I feel like nobody actually goes to her office, but they merely talk about her in jokes or anecdotes. But after my father passed away, I decided to try a tarot card or two.

She welcomed me with a large smile and huge glasses. Her room was perfumed with incense and the lights were dimmed. I felt that she already knew more about me than I knew about myself.

"What are you coming in for?," she asked.

"My father recently passed away and I have been working the same job for a long time. I want to know if it is time to change paths, to walk away from Asbury Park or to stay."

"I will read your palms, give me your hands," she said.

"Everything has meaning in this room, every particle of your being, both physical and metaphysical. Your hands are calloused and rough, I see you must work with them regularly"

"This line is your heart line, I see it is uneven, have you experienced many heartbreaks in your life?"

I had one. I've never married because Steven leaving the earth hit me so hard I could barely move for days. I had been used to a life with daily kisses, with comfort and respect every day. Steven worked in an auto repair shop. We went to high school together and met in gym class. He was on the opposing team in dodgeball, but I was determined to knock him out. My determination and his quiet, calm spirit mixed to create something important and necessary.

This was check one. She was right, she knew, it was all in my palms, everything was in my palms. Everything that is true can be found in the physical world, in your hands, in your body, in the milk that I pour into foam cups of coffee each day. Everything comes from the body and all that you are is made up of chemicals and molecules.

I told Madam Marie about Steven. She nodded quietly and knowingly, then continued to hold my hands.

"The heart line, though broken, is long. This must have been a deep relationship."

"Yes, I believe he was the love of my life."

"Have you pursued other relationships since then?," she asked?

"No, I have not. I feel I am happy alone and I am busy with my work."

"Never block yourself off from experiencing happiness. As a gemini, you will be very compatible with a sagittarius.

Your life line is short and deep. You are a very independent woman who has lived a rich life with many experiences."

"I think that Asbury Park has provided for these rich experiences. I have loved living here and hated it at times. All of life can be found by the ocean," I responded.

"Yes, the truth can be found in the movement of the waves back and forth, the harshness found in the crashing of waves on the shore and the teeth of a shark. The beauty of change and resilience found in the broken sea glass, trash molded into beauty, falling onto the shore."

"Here is your fate line," she said, pointing to a vertical line on the bottom of my hand. "This line changes the most, revealing how outside circumstances will influence your life. Yours seems to have remained steady, remained the same."

Yes, though I had been through much loss, things had remained the same for me for years. Same apartment, same town. Same weekend visits with my aging mother and creamsicles with my brother and his children.

"This is your sun line," she said, pointing to the line next to the fate line. "It reveals your public image and whether or not you will achieve fame in your life." "As your sun line and fate line are not close to each other, you will achieve success more independently, not dependent upon outside influences".

I'd never been much for success. I did not attend college, most people here did not attend college. Careers varied between musicians, waitresses, bartenders, or dropouts and drug addicts. I was dependable but not dreamy, I knew that I needed to support myself and found that my job at the diner was what did that best. Though my father's passing made me question my purpose again, if I had done enough in my short time on this earth, if there was more of an impact I could make.

I made an impact on my nieces and nephews, teaching them to swim and play checkers. Those little things are what make up a life. Being childless myself, they were the most important little beings in my life and I made sure to influence them as positively as I could.

"Now I will read the mounts and plains of your palms," said Madam Marie. "They are the rounded, fleshy parts of your hand and they correspond to astrology's seven planets: Apollo, Luna, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn.

Here, on your index finger, is the base of Jupiter. I feel a strong connection to all that is spiritual in your base of Jupiter, and I feel a sense of quiet leadership and strength.

Here, on your middle finger, is the mount of Saturn. For you, it reveals deep understanding of the truth of life and quiet knowledge that allows you to rebound from its twists and turns.

On the bottom of your hand, the Inner Mars, Outer Mars, and Plain of Mars reveal a secretly tumultuous temperament, and physical and emotional strength."

She looked deeply, directly into my eyes.

"I know that you have suffered greatly in your life, but I believe you have the spiritual qualities to survive great hurt."

I felt renewed and a sense of deep self understanding. The stars seemed to glow brighter and I felt I could depend only upon them and myself throughout my life.

I paid, I left her office. I stared into my palm and I knew that I had everything that I needed within me.

June 24, 2022 15:56

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01:37 Jul 05, 2022

This is so much fun! I would consider cutting the first three paragraphs… “I've never actually seen Madam Marie,” …is where the story really starts for me. I don’t feel the earlier paragraphs add enough. I llike those first three paragraphs. They’re really well-written. But, the story doesn’t need them. It soars after. This story makes me so happy!


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Chris Morris
07:23 Jul 02, 2022

I enjoyed this, it was very well written. A nice little short and to the point story. Just be careful with some of your bits of dialogue: "I will read your palms, give me your hands," she said. "Everything has meaning in this room, every particle of your being, both physical and metaphysical. Your hands are calloused and rough, I see you must work with them regularly" "This line is your heart line, I see it is uneven, have you experienced many heartbreaks in your life?" It sounds like this is the fortune teller speaking continuously here...


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Stacey Jackson
12:11 Jul 08, 2022

What a wonderful story! Quiet and tender. Beautiful writing!


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