“That’s her way of getting us to pay double,” David whispered to me. Madame heard him and told him it would be the same price, ten pounds each, whether we had our readings done together or separate. “You go first,” David said. “I’ll wait outside.” I sat down, and she asked to see my hands again. She focused past me, her gray eyes somewhere on the wall behind my head. She closed her eyes and spoke: “You have crossed this ocean before.” “My American accent has given me away.” She frowned and said, “You have been married, had an abortion, and had a nervous breakdown.” “I’ve never had a nervous breakdown,” I said. “Well, trust me, you’ve come close. You have stress marks all over your face.” I thought about the past year, trying to teach full-time at the community college and pursue a PhD while carrying on a clandestine love affair. I thought about the divorce and the lies. I thought about the poems I never seemed to find time to write. “I’ve been a little stressed,” I admitted. “A little! I’ll say.” “Okay. What else?” “The man outside is not your husband.” “True.” “Your husband, he has met someone else, but still, he wants you back, and I see that you still like him. You can’t stick to your decisions, but you must. And you are unhappy in your current relationship.”
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