Triad Magazine

A Hillsborough Community College Student Publication since 1978.

The Fortune Tree

By Bethany Tebo

I waited silently in a small fortune teller’s tent at the edge of the Black Forest. It was cold and windy, but the tree inside of the drooping striped canopy provided protection from the chill. I sat patiently, hoping that the fortune teller would soon return with her pack of cards. The tree was the only thing that kept me company. It was a sad tree. The weathered bark told a story of pain that it had suffered for many centuries. I reached out, entranced by the sight of it. It flooded my eyes with shades of green. The branches were thick with leaves. As I plucked a small leaf from its tender flesh, I felt a sense of pity. The small leaves were slick, as if it had been crying. Each tiny green spot on its branches looked like a tear drop falling towards the dirt floor. Many of the branches were broken from their own weight.
I looked past the tree, noticing the fortune teller passing from her house to the tent. She glided across the courtyard, her arms swaying beside her. She was an old lady; her hair lay like a dry mop on her head, dusty and forgotten in a closet. Her wrinkled skin revealed time spent in the sun. When she entered the room she had a studious air about her. I watched her carefully as she sat on the uninviting cracked leather seat that collected dew in its shadowed concrete nook.
“Give me your hands,” she said calmly in a raspy German accent.
I put my hands in her own, watching as she inspected the lines of my pale hands. She was thorough with her work.
“Would you like me to read your cards?” she asked, setting a stack on the table.
“Yes,” I answered with a nervous nod.
“Very well,” she replied, spreading the cards out over the table. “Pick three.” I carefully chose three cards out of her deck and handed them to her.
“Hmm,” she said, as she sat hunched over the mass of paper in front of her, hoping for an answer to her question. “You will have a good future.”
“Thank you,” I said, handing her the few coins left in my tattered dress pocket. I stood up, and noticed a small fairy perched heavily on the tinfoil wrappings of my all too short lunch. He fluttered away with some sort of pride.
As I left the worn tent I looked back at the tree, hoping it would not be the last time that my eyes would gaze upon it.

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