The Misadventures of Quinxy truths, lies, and everything in between!

14Jan/100

My father, the gypsy…

I am descended from a very long line of wandering fortune telling gypsies. My dad used to make 200,000 Leus a day in his summers off from school in Bucharest. He used to tell me about his single greatest act of clairvoyance. This old British couple approached him in the main square and asked him not for spiritual guidance, but the more practical kind, the location of the nearest post office so they could mail some postcards. As my dad was about to tell them he had a sudden, wrenching foreboding. Instead of sending them to the main postal branch which was just one block away, he sent them to one of the auxiliary branches six blocks away. Within thirty minutes he saw smoke rising from behind a line of shops, just where the main post office stood. A boiler exploded, setting fire to the building and killing 58 people, all but three from the stampede to escape. The elderly couple came back the next day, having learned of the explosion, and realizing their misdirection. They gave him 1,000,000 Leu (about $20 US), and their address in case he was ever in England and needed a place to stay. As it happened he did go to England about four months later as part of a school trip. He called at their address only to find one of their daughters at home. The couple had died, tragically, just a week after their return from Romania, apparently from eating some bad shellfish in Brighton. My dad ended up dating the daughter (long distance) for 6 months. He learned that had the couple died in Romania their insurance policy which had a travel clause would have paid the equivalent of $1 million US to the surviving family, not to mention what the Romanian government was paying in compensation, but as they died at home of causes which were never adequately proved, the family had to settle for little more than burial expenses. Seeing the financial (and resultant emotional) suffering of the surviving children, my dad stopped telling fortunes. He felt he had no right to alter the destiny of others, feeling on some level that destinies were fairly inescapable, and already as "ideal" as an unideal thing could be; and that his efforts only muddied the stream of life.

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