The fortune teller of Broadchurch

That he was wearing those khaki shorts and that shirt that morning was not a coincidence. He had carefully chosen that outfit because it was Sunday, and Sunday was a market day in Bridport Harbour.

Market day was a good day for a fortune teller, especially in July, and especially in Bridport Harbour, a small community made famous by the TV series “Broadchurch”. Tourists were everywhere on the beach, on the cliffs, and at the market in the customs house looking for the places were fictional detectives Miller and Hardy have chased criminals. The show’s tagline – “A town wrapped in secrets” – worked wonders for a fortune teller as himself.

People were in the right frame if mind as they drove in. So to speak. They wanted to believe.

But he didn’t care about the customers that much, not really. He knew there’d be a couple, there always was. They were easy to spot, too, because they all – without exception – circled around him for a few minutes before approaching him, and then taking a seat in front of him under his “Fortune teller” sign.

He did both Tarot readings and horoscopes. When there were no customers, he sometimes played with the cards to get people’s attention, but often he just sat on a small stool, in front of a black and white backdrop with the Zodiac signs on it, patiently waiting for someone to circle and stop. Now that he had a white hair and a white beard to go with it, he attracted another kind of crowd, that, too, was obvious.

Today’s only customer had been a typical one, a middle-aged lady, who wanted to hear that things would get better. Fortunately for him, that’s exactly what the cards had told him. She had had a small child with her, which was not typical, but he could tell that the bond between the mother and the child was strong, so she told her that, too.

She was pleased, and bought the boy a Belgian waffle and an ice cream from the stand on the other side of the market.

However, he wasn’t wearing his khakis for that lady and her son, or any other customer. He was wearing them for someone special. He looked at his watch. It was almost noon. Time for lunch.

He got up and stood outside the tent and stretched a little, then took three steps to his right to speak with the massage therapist he was sharing the tent with. They divided it with a bamboo curtain she had brought with her early on. She wanted to have boundaries, so that customers wouldn’t get confused, she had said, but he knew whom the boundaries had been set for.

He didn’t even remember how he had ended up sharing his tent with her, but thinking back, he liked to think he had been the one suggesting the partnership to her when he had seen her sit on the bamboo mat in the sun.

Suddenly, he took a few steps back and sat down on the bench that was just outside their tent. They called it their waiting room. He sat down because he had looked down talking to her, and had realized he was wearing black Crocs. His  best khakis, his nice shirt – and Crocs? Faux pas, man. Faux pas, he muttered to himself.

She didn’t seem to notice, or mind, so he got back up and spoke to her. They chatted for a while, and then she put on a summer hat that matched with her gray top and red harem pants, and walked away. He sat down on his stool and waited.

Ten minutes later, she returned with a lunch box. They sat down, he in front of the Zodiac signs, she on the little stool on the other side of his small desk, and they shared a sandwich. She laughed at a joke he made, and he was happy.

Then she went on her side of the bamboo divider while he stayed on his.

As it was written in the stars.

For now.

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