I'd never been interested in psychics or psychic phenomena, so I was really resistant when Sarah, a friend who lived across the street from me asked if I would go with her to a psychic fair. I hadn't been spending much time with her and she usually went along with what I wanted to do when we did, so I finally agreed.

This fair was held in a very large hotel in Florida, and they had divided up a huge space with little booths filled with people telling fortunes, reading palms and the like. I felt a bit like a mother at a carnival watching her daughter go on rides as Sarah threw cowry shells and stuff around inside these booths. It was all so predictable. I watched from a distance as the booth people shuffled Rider/Waite tarot cards. I watched the ultra-sincere expressions on their faces fade into confusion and then become calculating whenever she looked down or away. I watched their mouths move, synchronized with her gestures and nods - a strange and carefully measured dance of communication. Each time she emerged, smiling and with stars in her eyes, I asked her if they'd said anything meaningful and she went into complicated explanations and interpretations of how they'd alluded to her future happiness and long-gone unhappiness.

I refused point-blank to step foot inside any of the booths and made it clear that I was finding the whole thing kind of embarrassing.

Walking around this ghetto of hope, we came upon one of the psychics leaning against his booth, waiting for a customer. As we approached him, he gave me an overly-intense look and said, "Hello." I said, "Hello, how are you?" He said, "Someone is lying to you. But you shouldn't worry, you'll find three gold coins."

I sighed and told Sarah I'd had enough, and that I wanted to go somewhere to eat. She said, "I have to go to the washroom" , so I followed her and waited outside the door. And waited. And waited. When she didn't reappear after 10 minutes or so, I went in to find out if she was ill. She was in a stall, making odd sounds. I said, "Sarah, you okay?"

She muttered something I couldn't make out, so I walked over to the mirror to look at myself (not much else to do in a washroom). When Sarah's reflection appeared in the mirror, I didn't turn around, just looked at her red eyes, streaked makeup, and tear-stained face in the mirror and said, "Whatever is the matter?"

It took a few minutes, and as I remember it, we had the entire conversation in the mirror, but she finally told me that she was the one who'd been lying to me and that she'd had an affair with my husband!

It's truly an odd thing to find yourself consoling your husband's girlfriend in a toilet. Somehow fitting though.

I never did find three gold coins, but a couple of years later (sans husband), I found three jewels. That's actually an inside joke, and I can't explain it, but the three jewels I found are incalculably precious.

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