I knew I was going to die young. At least that is what she hinted to me, that something terrible was soon going to befall me; if not my demise, then perhaps some terrible injury that would make my life a miserable existence. I simply assumed her rash conclusion must mean I was going to die young. I was only twelve. She hadn’t said exactly that, but what else could it be?
Right before my palm reading, she had done my sisters’ fortunes and the results seemed pleasing to them both. She had buttressed her claims of successful predictions with stories of her having correctly foretold fires and other events throughout her rambling life. She had recently predicted a devastating fire at the camp she supervised, and had that not come true? Surely her words could be trusted.
I hadn’t really wanted my future foretold. But my sisters insisted I try. It’ll be fun, they assured me. So I unfurled my fingers and let her take them. She looked for a bit, and then suddenly froze and stopped. It seemed a bit theatrical: she dropped my hand and said “I am sorry. I can’t go any further. Something bad is soon going to happen to you and I just don’t want to read anymore.” And that was it. A dark cloud quickly flittered into my life and on occasional would emerge from the dark recesses of my mind to taunt me. Many a night afterward I woke up in a panic and knew some horrendous end was waiting for me. Clearly this terrible event would strike only me, not my family, since both my sisters earned glowing reviews. Perhaps by “young” she meant my early twenties. Maybe a future wife or child of mine was destined to suffer, or some similar calamity, but mostly I was certain my life would be cut sadly short.
I wished for greater explanation, but she had quickly gotten into her car and left. She had finished her duties at the camp and was moving on, having come by to say goodbye to the women in my family. I soon tried to console myself that it was all a hoax, that she was angry with something I must have done while working at the camp and this was a form of punishment or payback. I couldn’t imagine what, but certainly I must have erred somewhere.
Well into my thirties I worried. Silly, looking back on it now. Sure, there were some terrible events that befell me, such as losing my mother when I was 32, but that was a sad event for my sisters and the rest of my family as well. Maybe her ability to tell actual dates was off, I surmised. Tough things happened to me over the years---goals unmet, wife absconded, difficult financial times . . . but as I moved into my fifties I was able to finally let it go. Bad things happen, and I know wonder if she was just being mean-spirited. Perhaps she just hadn’t read it correctly. Although pain could always be in my future, I felt that every day past fifty was a blessing; I had seen friends and classmates already pass to early graves. Of course I could drop dead any time, and people would say I had gone too soon, but I feel that I have been blessed and am happy to have made it this far and hope for a few more good years.
I now realize though that she was right. That terrible thing to strike me while I was so young- - -was having her read my palm in the first place.