Copyright 2014 Kendra Little
“Sit my dear, sit.” The woman waved a wrinkly hand at the seat across from her.
Elaine sat, perching on the edge of the hard kitchen chair. She always felt apprehensive before seeing Madame Iona and today was no exception. What would she predict this time? Unemployment? Illness?
Although the clairvoyant rarely made negative predictions, it didn't stop Elaine from imagining the worst every time. Everything she said was always so accurate. Her mother’s illness six months ago had been the first, and most terrifying, prediction. Then there had been the final breakup of her on-again-off-again relationship with James – including the first name of the woman who caused it. Most of Madame Iona's other predictions were of less importance and reflected the humdrum of Elaine's life. "A new companion" had turned out to be a stray cat, "a windfall" had come when her Aunt Maggie had left her a thousand dollars in her will, and "some success at work" had come in the guise of a promotion.
Madame Iona lit a small lamp on the table between them, casting a supernatural glow over the elderly woman's deeply lined face. The light reflected back at Elaine through two jade, cat-like eyes. Clutching Elaine’s hands in her claws, Madame Iona studied the palms for several minutes, pulling the smooth skin tight and poking at something she saw imprinted on them.
“Interesting.” Madame Iona pointed to a small line on Elaine’s left palm.
“What is it?”
“Something which I want to confirm first.” Madame Iona produced a set of tarot cards from a wooden box and dealt them face up on the table. After close scrutiny she smiled crookedly and tapped a card depicting a man and woman entwined. “Yes, here it is. You are going to meet someone, my dear. Someone who will one day become quite special to you. A man. Young and dark. Your meeting will come from a mistake, but I cannot tell of what nature. My dear,” she paused, her sharp gaze penetrating Elaine, “this is the man you will marry.”
Elaine gasped. “Really?” Madame Iona scowled in answer. “But, how will I recognise him?”
“He will be carrying a red box.”
Almost two weeks later when a good looking man dressed in overalls rang her doorbell, Elaine didn’t immediately recall the clairvoyant’s prediction until she saw him carrying a red toolbox.
“I’m Dave, the plumber,” he said.
“I didn’t call a plumber,” she said, trying not to stare.
“Yes, you did. Number 15, Winston Drive. It’s right here on my work form.” He waved a crumpled note in her face. “Mrs. Jenkins.”
“I’m not Mrs. Jenkins, but this is 15 Winston Drive.” A mistake. Just like Madame Iona said. “Perhaps you’d like to come in anyway. I have a leaking tap which I’ve been meaning to get fixed. This would save me a call.”
Dave the plumber fixed her leaking tap in five minutes, but stayed an hour, sipping tea and chatting. Elaine hung on every word, smiling and nodding when appropriate. By the end of the hour she was convinced she needed a new bathroom basin, so they scheduled an appointment for the following week.
But after closing the door behind Dave, uncertainty crept in. He was a plumber, not the type of man she would usually date, let alone think about marrying! And although he seemed nice enough, there was no spark between them. She decided to see what he was like next time before making up her mind.
Once the basin had been completed, Dave returned every week. At first it was to fix the toilet which he claimed wasn’t flushing properly, and then to do odd jobs around the house – for free. A rather shy man, he had her run-down old house looking like new before he got up the courage to ask Elaine out to dinner. At first she wished he'd hurry up about it, but after a while she found his shyness endearing, and it gave her time to get to know him. And like him.
He was very sweet natured and generous, and, as her friends jealously pointed out, he adored her. He bought her flowers every month and gave her foot rubs after a hard week at work. It no longer concerned Elaine that he was a plumber, and she found that her friends and family accepted his profession, despite some initial awkwardness.
Their relationship was like a fairytale, and yet Elaine felt guilty that she would never have taken a second look at him if it hadn't been for Madame Iona's prediction. She would have shut the door on the man with the red toolbox and thought no more of him. The twenty-five pounds she spent for the half hourly sessions with the clairvoyant were definitely paying off.
After dating for ten months, Dave proposed marriage, and Elaine accepted with a squeal of delight. They professed their undying love to one another as they snuggled up in bed that night.
“Isn’t it funny,” said Dave, squeezing his fiancée tightly.
“Isn’t what funny?” she asked sleepily.
“Us. If I hadn’t been sent to the wrong house we would never have met. I still can’t work out how that happened. Johnno swore he wrote the details down right.”
Elaine smiled. “It must be fate. Just accept it.”
“I don’t believe in fate.” He kissed her temple. "Luck, yes, but not fate."
On their wedding day, Elaine was in a state of dazed excitement and could later remember very little of the actual ceremony, except that she had married the perfect man. After a glass of wine at the reception, she became calmer and was able to enjoy herself. She divided most of her time between family and friends as well as her new husband.
“Darling,” Dave said towards the end of the night, “there’s some more of my family I want you to meet.” He guided her towards a table and introduced each “And this is the matriarch of the family,” he said proudly, placing an arm around an elderly woman. “Elaine, meet Aunt Iona.”
Elaine froze. A wrinkly old woman with bright jade-green eyes smiled back at her. It was the face of the woman she'd been seeing every three months for three years.
“Nice to meet you, dear,” said Madame Aunt Iona, winking at the blushing bride. “You must tell me how you met my nephew.”