(Moving forward into my second year of widowhood, I’ve committed to do one new thing—new to me—each week for a year. It can be big or small, important or silly—but it has to be new. It’s a way of reminding myself to focus forward, into my future life..)
I’ll start with a small confession: Once years ago, during a boozy happy hour with co-workers in a hotel lobby, we all briefly opened our palms to a fortune teller who was part of the hotel’s entertainment experience. I don’t remember much about what she said to me—wine was involved—though I do recall that some of what she said seemed creepily accurate.
But I have never before sought out a psychic. On the bus route between my house and downtown Seattle, a sign on a tiny pie-shaped building caught my eye:
LOVE AND RELATIONSHIP SPECIALIST!
Flapping over the permanent sign, a flag announced: “Palm Reading Special $15”
Well, who can resist a sale?
When I decided that this would be my first “new thing,” I discovered that I was nervous, maybe even a trifle fearful. New situations are uncomfortable. I also had to examine my motivation. I don’t believe in psychics and palm reading, but I wanted to know what it was like to have this experience. So, I cast myself in the role of respectful observer.
I walked through the open door into the tiny teal-colored entry room and pressed a button marked “Deliveries.” After about a minute, a young woman popped her head through the top half of a Dutch door and asked me to wait. I sat in a white upholstered bucket chair surrounded by crystal sticks, Buddha heads, clusters of white candles and, oddly enough, a sculpture of a reclining gnome reading a book while cuddling with a bunny.
I half expected my psychic to look like Oda Mae Brown, the fortune teller Whoopi Goldberg portrayed in the movie Ghost. Flowing robes, head scarf, staring into space while reciting messages from the dead. But the young woman who appeared to read my palm was remarkably ordinary in appearance, a 30-something with Mediterranean coloring and deep brown eyes, hair pulled away from her face. Instead of flowing robes she wore a multi-colored tank top.
We settled in a small cluttered room with a small table between us, only missing a crystal ball to completely set the stage. She looked me straight in the eye. “What brings you here today?”
I answered honestly. “Curiosity.”
First we talked charges. I would have liked a Tarot card reading, but that was $45. I settled for the sale offering, the reading of my right palm for $15, though I could have had both palms read for $25. (Do they tell different stories, I wonder?)
I placed my right palm upright on the table between us and she began. She stared at it briefly and told me that I would have a long life, into my late 80s or 90s or perhaps beyond, and my health signs were good. My energy was very positive, though the chakras showed signs of stress. I might want to meditate on my chakras.
“Are you under some stress?” she asked me.
Although this seemed like she was cheating, I answered. “My husband died recently.”
“I’m sorry,” she said. “That can cause some stress.”
She told me that I was a kind person with an open heart, but that I needed to take care that others didn’t take advantage of me. My finances were fine, and I’d probably get a monetary boost next year, probably in March. I would travel in July, maybe into August.
“Do you have any questions?” she asked me.
I couldn’t resist. “Will I ever have another relationship?”
“You will be surrounded by love and supported by committed relationships. That’s all I can see at this time.”
Hmmm. Well, that would be pretty good. It was all very bland stuff. I was disappointed. In spite of my great skepticism, I realized I wanted her to gasp over my palm, to be amazed at the wonderfulness of my life to come. Think of how you feel when you crack open a fortune cookie: You don’t believe the message on the slip of paper inside means anything, but nonetheless you’re a little bit pleased when you get a good one.
My reading was over, but my curiosity wasn’t satisfied. “Tell me, how did you get into this line of work?”
She didn’t hesitate. “I’ve been doing this all my life. My whole family does this. I’ve been reading Tarot cards since I was five, before I could read.”
Now that was interesting. I would love to sit with her over a cup of coffee to hear her story. I’m half tempted to do that—to go back and plunk down another $15, but this time we’ll talk about her history, not mine. That would be much more fascinating than anything she gleaned from my open palm.