We gathered around a spread of figs and cheese, chips and salsa, chocolate chip cookies and candied coconut. A much-needed ladies’ night for old friends and new. Later that night I quietly thanked myself for pulling it together and getting out of the house as I was reminded how endearing it is to create the space to enjoy and grow true friendship. We had planned to watch a movie, but even after three hours of laughter and conversation, no one, except the hostess, was ready to ease back into silence. Instead we turned reading palms and the horoscopes for The Year of the Dragon.
Now for the disclaimer: I don’t believe in any of that stuff. Zodiac signs and horoscopes? It’s fun. One day they’re right on target and the next they’re way out of the ballpark. Ougie boards? Never done it but it’s always been my take that a present and in the flesh person is moving the planchette. Tarot cards? Cards reading the future? I find it ridiculous. But my fascination with psychic abilities stems back to my youthful days of watching Carrie, The Craft, and Teen Witch. Back then, my friends and I spent more than a few slumber parties and camping trips attempting to recreate “Light as a feather, stiff as a board.”
Half a second after suggesting tarot cards or palm reading, I cast my vote. “Read my first,” I said not at all disguising the excitement in my voice.
What would she say? What would my palm say? I held out my palm confidently. Inside I was a jumble of nerves. Will I ever fall in love? Will I ever get married? Have children? Land the job of my dreams? My friend held my palm for a moment and fell silent as I grew more and more anxious. Oh God, am I about to die? What’s wrong?! Why isn’t she saying anything?
“You have such deep impressions. You know what you’re doing in this life and you’re going to do it. It’s very definite. Very certain,” she said. She held my hand up for the others to see. “Look at her palm. Now look at your own.” Whispers from around the table in agreement that my lines are quite dark, so defined. I’m hesitant to agree that it means I know what I’m doing with my life and that I’ll actually get around to doing it. The past few years have been filled with great uncertainty. And yet, it felt powerfully calming to hear her say something so affirming about me.
Now, I would have been wise to take back my hand after that kind of reading. Does it get any better than that?But I had so many questions and I wanted answers even if I wouldn’t “believe” them. “Will I get married?” I asked.
“What?” I was yelling at this point. I’d braced myself for a “No” even though I hoped to hear “Yes.” It never occurred to me there were any other options.
“There’s a break in this line. You see? Two very long relationships in your life. One lasts for …a while. Then another that lasts even longer.”
Does the second last forever? I wondered, though I was wise enough not to ask that question. Still, I had hope there would be no divorce. “I bet it’s two weddings. My husband and I renew our vows. Yes! That’s it! I’ll marry the same man twice!” I’d found the most logical explanation in less than thirty seconds and was overjoyed at the prospect of renewing my vows with my one and only husband on our 25th wedding anniversary.
Everyone laughed heartily until the palm reader interrupted us. “No. It’s not the same man.” She kept reading. “Oh, wow,” she said. “You’re so lucky. Good luck runs throughout the entire course of your life. So much luck! Oh, but look at your life line. You need to be careful. It looks a little faint at times. Just watch your health.” I leaned back in my chair. It couldn’t hurt to live a healthier lifestyle. Lay off the sweets, take the dog on longer walks, eat a vegetable or two — at least once a week, instead of once every other month. Funny how healthy living felt like less of a hassle when it was the palm reader (and not the doctor) suggesting it.
“You’re good with money,” she started again but I quickly interrupted.
“I don’t have any money! That’s not good!” I said.
Then my roommate, bless her heart, added her two cents. “You don’t have much money. But you manage it well. I couldn’t do it.” And oddly enough, that made me feel a bit better about the fact that I haven’t started saving for retirement, my first house, or a new laptop.
“Yes, you’re good with money and that’s a good thing because there’s more on the way — not a lot, but you’ll be comfortable. And you’ll be smart with it,” the palm reader finished. I took it all in and internally blew a sigh of relief. Good; living paycheck to paycheck is stressful and I need to watch my health.
“Your life isn’t cluttered by a lot of outside forces. Not much going on. It all looks good.”
“What about a family?” I asked.
“Two kids. Maybe three. Something’s up with that third line.”
What’s wrong with my third baby? Why would she tell me that? Who wants to hear something’s fishy with the third line? Still, I kept cool, thankful she even sees plural offspring in my future but I couldn’t help prodding her a bit. “Look again. I want a least four,” I said.
“Ha. Four? No. Definitely two.”
And then it was over. She moved on to our other friends and I couldn’t keep my eyes off my palm, trying to read the lines, read in between the lines, read into her reading of my palm. It was all so foreign and captivating and puzzling that I had to remind myself that I
didn’t shouldn’t believe any of it. Later that night I joked about divorcing my first husband to open the door for number two when she reminded me not to build my life on this. “It’s not science,” she said.
I smiled to myself. No, it’s not. Life’s not a science, it’s an art. My palm reveals so much to someone trained to read them but to me just my palm. I’ve looked at these palms everyday for almost thirty years and I never saw marriage, children, life or luck in them. I saw the deep impressions, the moles on my right palm and left pinky and the way the pigment on the back of my hands perfectly fades into the mysterious color of palm. I saw what my eyes could see and I still see all those things but now I see everything else. Now I see luck oozing out of my palms and I can’t help but to feel like I’m as lucky as the line says I am. Sure, the short-term anxieties crop up. It seems like all my friends are masters or lawyers or doctors and shacking up, engaged, or married. When will my time come? I don’t know. But I have two husbands on the way and two and a maybe children. I say it out loud and it’s so silly that I burst into laughter but it makes me feel better, makes me want to focus on the present instead of worrying about the future. And then I remember other parts from the reading; that my life isn’t cluttered with unnecessary drama and it puts my singledom in perspective. I’ll have some variation of the life I want. I know because I have it now, though it’s far from perfect, and I know because my palm says so. Maybe the secret behind palm readings is simply the power of suggestion.
What a gift. I know I said I don’t believe in palm readings but I do understand the desire to tap into that world of reading/knowing/predicting the future. She read things I didn’t want to know/believe/hear and whether any of it’s true, in the very center of my being I understand what went on that night and everyday since then. I just needed to hear someone tell me what I refuse to believe about myself:
I’m lovable, I’m talented, I’m valuable and I can do it.