“What’s her problem?” Rueben said. A woman had stomped out, slamming the door behind her. “She’s not gonna win a million dollars this year?”
It was the first time she’d come for a reading, and she didn’t believe a word of it. Or maybe she did, Blondi thinks, and that’s the problem.
“Sometimes people don’t like what they hear,” she tells Rueben. “You’ll come up against that sometimes when reading tea leaves too.”
He’s only been reading tea leaves for a year, at Blondi’s suggestion. He’s good at it, a natural; his grandmother used to do it when she was alive.
“People have their own ideas about what a reading should be. Some expect to be told something dramatic; not that their life is going to continue much as it is. They want a personal mystery to be revealed. They want to be a little bit shocked, maybe told that there’s a message for them from the other side.”
Rueben considers this.
“I know you can’t tell me anything about that lady or her reading,” he says. “But what do you do when someone is upset like that?”
“It’s’s rare, Rube. The first time it happened, I was just starting to do readings for other people and I was mortified. I thought, ‘I’m no good at this! I shouldn’t be doing it.’ I thought people had to go away happy. But that’s not the purpose. I have to tell them what I see, straight out; no sugar-coating.”
“You’re gentle though.”
“It doesn’t always matter,” she says, with a shake of her head. “But if you insist the cards are right, people just dig in their heels and have even more trouble seeing.”
“But the cards can be wrong, can’t they?”
“Of course! You have to take it all with a grain of salt.” Blondi laughs. “You always have to think for yourself! I just ask people not to make up their minds right away. Give it a few days to settle in. Things start making sense once they’re alone and their defences aren’t up so high.”
“Still you must feel shitty when this happens.”
“Shitty? No. Not exactly.” Blondi isn’t sure how to explain. “I’m not responsible for the message itself. Only in the way I give it, right? And I’ve done the best I was able. That has to be good enough.”