Death Grip

She studies my hand with great interest. It is a working hand with callouses and scars and I know she's digging deep into her archive of standard lines, figuring out how to impress me. The arch of my life line is long but criss- crossed near the bottom with other shorter lines.

"You will live long but you will see trials and tribulations along the way."

My God! She's a genius! I'm 58 years old and rushing head long into the so called golden years that we all know are rarely golden. I smile patiently. "You work with your hands a lot," she says with sincerity and fingers one of my larger callouses.

"That's very astute of you," I respond trying not to laugh out loud. "My garden is my pride and joy," I added. I'm now thinking of my Alice in Wonderland backyard and would rather talk about that than sit there with her holding my hand. I try to gently pull it away but she has a death grip on it. A sigh slips past my lips and she senses that I'm getting bored.

"This hand tells me more than you think." She doesn't look me in the eye, she continues to stare at my palm. "You have already left your mark on the world and will continue to do so for many years. However, you may not get the recognition you have earned until after you have passed over."

Now I'm a little intrigued. I wait for her to continue and refuse the proffered beverage the stewardess's are offering.

"Your fingers are long and strong. You are artistic and intelligent. Am I right in assuming you paint?" Without waiting for my answer, she continues, "You have also written novels and are working on one now." It's not a question it's a statement.

My hair prickles a little bit and I stare at her hard. Then I realize that she has spotted my laptop. On the floor between my feet is a tote bag with one of my novels poking out of the top. Hmmm, this tells me she's very observant but it is a long flight and I refrain from being rude. "That is very good," I say and this time I pull my hand a little harder and she finally releases her grip. "You were right on the money, thank you." I send her a pleasant smile before turning my head to look out the window. 'At least she didn't tell me I wouldn't be landing in Rome' I thought ruefully.

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