Written in the Stars
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"They say no one can tell what our future will be like... That's what Bruno believed until that late afternoon when he was approached, along with his friends, by a gypsy woman. He was completely skeptical until the gypsy sealed his fate: He will get married by the age of 24 and will have four children. He will become rich, but not by doing what he loves or through gambling. His father will pass away at the age of 60, two years younger than him. His destiny is tied to a young woman with brown hair, and all of this will happen only when Bruno meets that woman. He promised himself never to fall in love with any woman with brown hair... That was the case until he met Helena."
"The last rays of sunlight disappear on the horizon, applauded by a lively group of four surfers who were sitting on the beach sand with their surfboards, watching the final summer sunset they shared together":
"That's it, guys! This was the best ending of my life," said one of them, emotionally, while glancing at his other friends.
"Come on, Gabriel, calm down," one of them said, laughing at his friend's drama. He stood up, repeatedly adjusting his shorts over his bulging belly, unsuccessfully. "We still have this year, buddy. There's graduation..."
"There's Nilton's Bike. By the way, I'm just curious about what will happen with that email you sent to the bride who got dumped a few hours before the altar... You were quite bold in your response, so you better be at the store when that bomb explodes," said the brown-haired friend with wavy hair, serious.
"Well, yeah," agreed another friend with dreadlocks, standing up and cleaning his shorts at the same time. "Today was just the beginning of the end."
"I know, I know," Gabriel said, also getting up. "But admit it, this moment will never happen again... Each one of us will go their own way. Lucas," he pointed to the friend still struggling with his belly, "already has a spot secured in Canada. Jonathan," pointing to the one with dreadlocks, "plans to get married in a few months..."
"Dude, you're too dramatic," grumbled the wavy-haired guy, still gazing at the orange horizon. He jumped up and grabbed his surfboard. "Let's live in the now, okay? You can save this drama for the class closing speech."
"And you, Bruno," Gabriel continued, pointing to his friend. "What do you want to do? What do you want for your future?"
"To pick up chicks," answered the wavy-haired guy as he walked away.
"Seriously?" insisted Gabriel, practically running alongside his friend.
"Gabriel," Bruno began, hugging his friend at the same time, "The only thing on my mind right now is that several girls are walking along the beach looking for a company to admire the stars... And I am that company."
"I know, Bruno. But what about your future?" Gabriel asked, curious. "Like, we all know what we want after college, but you... you've never talked about it."
"That's true," Lucas agreed, joined by Jonathan as they looked at Bruno.
The boys walked in silence until they reached the boardwalk, where they washed off under a shower. As soon as Bruno finished his shower, he faced his friends who were still waiting for an answer.
"Guys, you need to relax about this future stuff... Because no one knows what lies ahead for us..." he began, putting on his tank top. He smiled as he rode past a distracted brown-haired girl listening to music, "For example, I might marry this girl in a few months... or get rich in four years, or die at 30... or even tomorrow... No one can say how our future will turn out."
"I can," said a female voice from behind them.
The four turned around, startled, finding a woman with long black hair, a red scarf with coins covering her entire head. Her body was adorned with jewelry that covered her red blouse, matching her long skirt with layers of the same shade. Large hoops adorned her ears. Her eyes looked like two big jabuticaba fruits, staring at Bruno without blinking.
"I can tell you how your future will be," the woman said, smiling, showing her gold teeth. "Allow me to show you your future, for only fifteen reais... each."
"Thank you," Bruno said. "But we don't believe in these things."
"We?" the woman questioned, looking at the guy. "Even you?"
"I'm the one who believes the least," Bruno reaffirmed, laughing.
"Then you won't mind if I read your palm," the woman said, raising her hand toward the young man.
"I really have no interest in that," Bruno replied, rolling his eyes at his friends who laughed.
"Are you afraid?" the gypsy teased.
"Afraid of what?" Bruno asked, turning away.
"Afraid of your future," the brunette replied.
"You mean afraid of a bunch of generic words leading to generic sentences about things that can happen to anyone regarding the obvious..." Bruno retorted.
"Place your hand on mine, and we'll see..."
"No, thank you. Maybe you can get something from them," Bruno retorted.
"Well, that's fine by me," Jonathan said, extending his hand toward the gypsy, who firmly grabbed it. "Hey..."
"Jonathan..." the Gypsy began, analyzing the young man's hand. "You have two paths in your life... one that will start soon but will end as quickly as it began... another longer, more lasting path. Well, that's fifteen reais, sir." she finished, receiving the money from the guy.
"And what about my future?" Lucas asked, extending his hand to the gypsy.
"Lucas... You will find in the cold... the warmth needed to warm your heart," the Gypsy prophesied before letting go of Lucas's hand, who looked at her, surprised. He practically pulled out the notes from his pocket and handed them to the woman.
"And what about me?" Gabriel asked nervously. "Please, be kind."
"Gabriel... hmmm... I see your destiny intertwining with others after a tragedy... Have the wisdom to handle it when the time comes."
"Thank you, thank you very much," Gabriel thanked the gypsy, also paying the amount.
"And what about you, young man?" the gypsy asked, looking at Bruno.
"Look, I really don't want to and I don't have money either," Bruno replied, turning away.
"For you, I insist on not charging anything," the fortune-teller insisted.
"Go on, Bruno," Gabriel asked, curious.
"Yeah, man, just get it over with," Jonathan said.
"Yeah, brother. Do it so we can go pick up the girls," Lucas encouraged.
"Alright," Bruno accepted, raising his hand toward the gypsy.
The fortune-teller grasped the young man's hand firmly as she carefully traced the lines on his palm...
"Hmmm... interesting," she commented, admiring.
"And here we go with the obvious session..." Bruno grumbled.
"You will get married..."
"See? Obvious!" Bruno mocked, making his friends laugh.
"Young man," the gypsy continued, pressing one of the lines with her nail.
"You will have children..." she searched the other lines. "You will die younger than your father... However, before that, you will become very wealthy!" the gypsy finished, being watched by the silent guys. Until Bruno laughed, looking at the fortune-teller with disdain:
"Are you sure all that was in my hand?" Bruno questioned, looking at his own hand.
"Yes, I am absolutely sure," the gypsy replied.
"Okay, now I want the lottery numbers," Bruno joked.
"You may not believe what I say," the woman continues, "But destiny never makes mistakes."
"That's fine," Bruno responds, shaking his head. "The problem is that 'destiny' didn't tell me when I'll get rich or when I'll die. I mean, I'll die younger than my father... But if my father lives up to 100 years... Well, it's obvious that I'll die before that."
"Ah, I see... You want more precise numbers," the gypsy understands. "Alright then. Give me your hand..."
"Not a chance," Bruno refuses. "You've already spent too much time with it, and I bet you've even memorized my lines. Besides, if you're that good, you could have guessed without looking..."
"You're right, Bruno," the woman confirms, serious. She gazes at the young man, saying, "You will marry by the age of 24, and have four children. You'll become rich, but not do what you love, nor through gambling. Your father will pass away at 60, and you'll die two years younger than him. So, feel better now?"
Bruno stares seriously; his father was already fifty years old, and this woman dared to say he had only ten more years to live.
"Yes..." he whispers. He clears his throat and continues, "Can I ask you a question?"
"Avoid brunettes," the gypsy responds as if she were inside the young man's mind. "Your destiny is linked to a brown-haired young woman... She'll be your greatest joy and your end," she finishes, moving away from the guys.
"Alright. Only blondes then," the young man teases, not paying much attention to the prophecy.
"Good thing you don't believe in these things," Lucas says.
"As they say, 'The future belongs to God'," Bruno affirms.
"Yes, but just to be sure... I'll never look at any brunette again," Jonathan comments.
" Works for me, as I've always preferred blondes," Bruno jokes with his friends. "No brunette will ever win my heart."
"Happy birthday to you,
On this dear date,
Many years of life…"
"It's a hit, it's a hit,
It's a hit, it's a hit, it's a hit, it's a hit,
It's time, it's time,
It's time, it's time, it's time,
"Helena, Helena, Helena!!" the employees of the Arabic restaurant cheerfully sing, accompanied by the shy birthday girl's family, in front of her chocolate cake with candles that resemble fireworks.
The celebration draws attention from other tables, including Bruno, who until a few minutes ago dialed the same number on his phone for the twentieth time. He smiles as he admires the young blonde girl blowing out her candles.
"With whom will she...?" one of the guests stands up and asks.
"Oh no, Marcelo, please..." the birthday girl pleads, holding onto her guest's arm.
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