Stella of the Angels

by Christopher DeWan

I lost focus so I went to a fortune teller. I picked the first one within walking distance who took credit cards. She asked me to hold out my hands, and as soon as she touched me, I got a hard-on. Within ten minutes we were fucking on the sofa. "You've got a really strong love line," she said.

I moved in that night. That was three years ago.

* * *

(Did she see it coming? I always wondered, and I never knew.)

* * *

Her name was Stella Luna, like the children's book. That's what it said on the sign in her parlor. Her real name was Stella DeAngelis, but she changed it. "I thought Luna sounded more mystical," she explained.

"More mystical than, 'From angels'?"

I asked if she came from a long line of psychics. "My daddy was a plumber," she answered. Then she laughed. "But he made a pretty good living at the track."

* * *

"You're going to struggle a while," Stella told me, as we lay naked on her sofa, she finally reading my palm, "because you're a seeker."

"What do I seek?"

She ran her finger along my palm but didn't answer.

"What do I seek?"

"That which you don't have," she said.

"That's obvious. That's everyone. That's tautological."

"I don't know what that word means."

She knew the future but she didn't know that certain truths follow from their atomic propositions.

"You're going to go home and pack a bag of things," she said, "and move in with me."

"Is that a prediction? Or just something you want?"

"It's your destiny."

* * *

I went home, packed a bag, and moved in with her, which was a shitty thing to do, because I'd lived with a woman at the time who often told me that she loved me.

"I'm moving out. It's my destiny."

I paid an extra month's rent and let her keep my share of the deposit, and since she was justified in saying all of those bad things about me, I never tried to stop her. I still think about her sometimes.

* * *

Stella and I took a trip to Vermont. We rented a car and took turns driving up the coast through the rain. Halfway through Connecticut, she said, "Pull over."

I stopped the car, and she unbuckled my pants and climbed on top of me, somehow squeezing into the space between me and the steering wheel.

Up ahead, a tractor-trailer jack-knifed and killed twenty-two people—the largest single auto accident in Connecticut history.

"Did you know?," I asked her.

"I just wanted to fuck," she answered.

* * *

"Do you believe in predestiny? Are our futures written?"

She looked at me like I'd questioned gravity. "Of course." She didn't understand why her answer put me in a three-day sulk. "Do you ever think of killing yourself?," I asked.

"That's stupid."

* * *

"What do they say?" I asked.

She looked at me impatiently.

"When I read your palm," she explained, "I am reading your palm."

"That's tautological."

"But when I read the cards, I am reading the cards. And the cards are reading you. Do you understand?"

"Not at all. Why does a random shuffle of cards offer meaning about my life?"

"Right? Why does a random shuffle of events, or a random shuffle of jobs, or a random shuffle of girlfriends, offer meaning about your life? Exactly."

"So what do the cards say?"

She looked at them quietly for a while. She didn't like telling my fortune. Or maybe she just didn't like my fortune.

"The cards are kind of hard to read tonight. I'll look at them again tomorrow."

"I want my money back," I told her.

"Then you should have paid me."

* * *

She held a bag in her hand and she told me she was leaving. She gave me an extra month's rent, and said I should keep her share of the deposit.

"I've loved you," she said. "I'll always love you."

"Did you see this coming?," I asked.

"Did you see this coming?," I asked. "Because I didn't see this coming."

But I was shouting at the door. She was already gone.

* * *

We were lying on the sofa, and she was kissing my hand. "What am I seeking?" I asked her. We were both so relaxed, the way lovers are. "I don't know," she answered. "What are you seeking?"

"I don't know," I told her. "I don't know."

BIO: Christopher DeWan is a writer and teacher living in Los Angeles. Learn more at http://christopherdewan.com