I am [Narrator]. When I have a need to put my two cents into the Story of Nadia, I will be easily recognizable because my comments will always appear in brackets. For the most part, though, the story will unfold through the eyes of the characters. Nadia, who is 45 years old, has been a card reader since she was a young girl. Several of her clients, who come from all walks of life, have sought her help and advice for many years. Her son, Dominic, 25 years old, reads palms and her daughter, Ilona, newly graduated from college, manages a small tea shop where she does not read tea leaves.Since Nadia was born under the sign of Aquarius, making her magic number 22, it is [Narrator’s] intention to add two posts every week, each consisting of two paragraphs that will move the story forward.

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Nadia is not your typical Card Reader. Over the years, her sixth sense has evolved and now almost equals her natural abilities as a Reader. Often when she reads the cards, she senses vibrations, or observes a Seeker’s aura. She understands the importance of lucky and unlucky numbers in one’s life, and she respects karma. Her clients often ask for her personal guidance because they know she will dispense honest advice if called upon to do so. Aspects of her private life are quite interesting also.

For instance, right now she is twirling and twirling in the middle of her sitting room. Dizzy and out of breath, she collapsed onto the floor. Her head was still buzzing when she heard a key turn in her front door.

 

 

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Her son, Dominic, entered – tall, dark, handsome. [What did you expect?] ”Why are you sitting on the floor?”

The bracelet of golden coins she was wearing slid up her arm and jangled as she raised her arm to him. “For heaven’s sake, stop looking at me as if I’ve lost my mind and help me up.” She grabbed his outstretched arm. “And stop laughing.”

 

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He was laughing and staring. ”I can’t help it. You look silly. What’s with the gypsy outfit? .”

She held onto his shoulders for another few seconds till her head cleared. “I’m a gypsy!”

 

“Yeah, I think I know you’re a gypsy. But you don’t usually dress like one.”

Nadia smoothed down the ruffles of her colorful skirt and said, “Did you call me silly? You called your mother, silly?”

 

“Just a figure of speech,” he said, staring down at the costume Nadia was wearing. “Stop avoiding the question–what’s with the getup?”

Her numerous necklaces, charm bracelets and dangling belts jingled as she twisted out of his arms. Averting her eyes from his, she said, “I need to wear it for my dance.”

 

Dominic pointed to the sofa. “I can see this is going to take a while. Shall we sit?”

[The sofa’s upholstery is a garish print emblazoned with birds, some red, some blue, flying through a forest of trees, while others are perched on branches. A lone toucan’s head can be seen peaking over one of the armrests.

The rest of the room’s furnishings are what you might expect to find if you were visiting a gypsy card reader to seek enlightenment. There are beads hanging in the doorways, a mantle full of statues and candles, and an end table stacked with booklets on varying subjects. A card table with two chairs are usually placed in the center of the room, but, at the moment, they have been moved to a far corner making space for, what I will loosely refer to as, “dance rehearsal.”]

Still panting, Nadia slumped onto the sofa. “Boy, what a workout. I haven’t done that dance in years. Zizi and I made it up when we were kids.”

 

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“I knew this would have something to do with Aunt Zizi,” he said, sitting at the opposite end of the sofa. “You always have some sort of absurd mental breakdown after you talk to her.”

“That’s not true, Dominic.”

 

He didn’t answer her at once, because broaching the subject of Aunt Zizi was tricky territory. He had questioned his mother many times in the past about her blindspot where Aunt Zizi was concerned and he sensed there was a story there, something she wouldn’t or couldn’t talk about.

Instead, he looked around the room and thought for a moment about his grandmother. She had decorated this room and nothing had been changed after she passed away. Their family believed that her spirit and exuberance remained alive in this room, and it was this exuberance that Aunt Zizi had inherited, only ten times over.

 

Dominic looked at his mother, who was now composed and breathing normally. “So, what hare-brained idea has Aunt Zizi come up with this time?”

“Why do you always talk about her that way? When you were a child, you loved being around Aunt Zizi.”

 

Dominic smiled and shook his head. “I know, Ma. Visiting her, and being with her was always great fun. She could have me giggling in two minutes, but she’s never grown up. Even you have to admit, she’s a little nutty.”

“I’ll admit no such thing,” Nadia said, fidgeting with the clasp of one of her bracelets.

 

Dominic extended his hand to her. “Here, give me your arm so I can take that silly bracelet off for you. This is exactly what I’m talking about. You wouldn’t be wearing this dumb thing if it didn’t have something to do with Aunt Zizi.”

After removing the offending bracelet, Dominic handed it back to Nadia and she laid it on the table next to the sofa. “For your information, Dominic, Aunt Zizi and I are going to perform our dance at the fundraiser that she and Uncle Vidor run every year to benefit the orphanage in Hungary.”

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Dominic jumped up from the sofa. “You see, that’s exactly the type of thing I’m talking about. They run a fundraiser to send money to Hungary, but they hold the event at the Italian-American Club. Even that’s a little insane.”

Nadia laughed at him. “Oh, sit down and stop acting crazy. You know what? You always ask the wrong question where Aunt Zizi is concerned.” She grabbed his hand and pulled him back down onto the sofa. “The real question is why would the folks at the Italian-American Club want to have anything to do with an affair that benefits children in Hungary?”

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Dominic began to answer, but Nadia raised her hand and gestured him to silence. “Aunt Zizi has a way with people. It’s almost as if she casts magic spells over them. As a young girl, she was taught how to read cards, just like me, but she chooses not to read for people. And she wasn’t born with the ability to read palms, as you were, but she still possesses magic. It’s within herself; it’s part of her being.”

The direction the conversation was taking began to make Dominic uncomfortable. The fact was, he loved the annual, crazy, mixed-up fundraising affair. He hadn’t missed one since its inception ten years before. “But you do see the incongruity of it all, don’t you, Ma?”

“Yes, of course, but people expect that type of thing from Zizi. Every unusual aspect of that party is stamped with Zizi’s particular flair for the amazing. The incongruity, as you refer to it, all begins with the fact that a Hungarian fundraiser is held at an Italian-American Club. The fun begins right there.”

Dominic squirmed. This talk with his mother was beginning to feel a lot like those little nurturing talks he endured while he was growing up. He stood, bent over and kissed her cheek. “Oh, what’s the use. C’mon, make me a cup of coffee. I know you’ll never tell me what hold Aunt Zizi has over you. All I’m sure of is, every time she comes up with one of her unorthodox ideas, you go along with it, no matter how ridiculous it is.”

Nadia rose and grabbed her son around his waist. Together they walked to the back of the house. “Things are not always what they seem, Dominic.”

[Although Nadia’s personality is the complete opposite of her older sister’s, Dominic is correct. Once in a while, she falls under Zizi’s spell and she does something out of character, as if she is being swept away by an unexpected, robust current of air.

Dominic, in all probability, will never find out what life-changing incident binds the two sisters together, but, maybe you will–someday. For now, though, let us move on.  Nadia is expecting a client.]