(reprint from 2006)
I was eight, when I found a chinese fortune telling game on the bookshelf. I don’t remember where it came from and I am not quite sure exactly how it got to the shelf. What I do know is it captivated me. It called out of me curiosity and scoffed at the idea any such thing would hurt a cat. So, without hesitation, my hands found its edges and pulled it off of its safe ledge. I sat down on the floor to further examine this new found treasure. The images were slick, colored black and red, and the back spoke of the future if the cards were laid just so.
As an eight year old – the future was tomorrow and what concerned me most was if Sister Mildred was going to let us get out of math by telling us one of her ghost stories or if she was going to find the cheat sheet under Robert’s desk and make us do spelling for 2 hours.
I shuffled. I mixed. With careful movements ushered chaos into the order of things. Then I lay out the plastic board and set the cards upon them in the order I was suppose to. Each card I flipped offered new adventure and hope. All except the last one. The last one was Death.
Death, Be not Proud.
I vaguely remember it saying I was going to witness death in an accident of some kind or be in an accident of some kind, or die in an accident. Nevertheless, at 8, that was a big deal. No longer the innocent of 10 minutes prior. Now I knew… death was going to find me. It was going to catch me by surprise. It was going to loom around me until I wasn’t looking. It was going to find
But I was eight. Weeks passed and Death did not grace my world. Soon I was nine, then ten… and before long the crazy chinese fortune telling cards were sold or lost or both. Death, had died.
Speaking of Death.
Or had it. Now at 33 I have seen Death’s masks. I have smelled it. I have tasted it. I have witnessed its hunger…. and it’s passion. I have seen its jealous hand maliciously move me towards hope only to reveal the object of my affection – in its sights.
and of Praying.
I do pray. I do hope. and silently, when the night air is thick with water so my tears cannot be so nearly felt, I ask for Death to meet me and discuss the terms of my affection’s release. But he never comes. I awake – with only sweat to remind me of the words that fell silently unheard or ignored.
Damn chinese fortunetelling cards.