Daily Prompt: Life Line

Daily Prompt: Life Line

You’re on a long flight, and a palm reader sitting next to you insists she reads your palm. You hesitate, but agree. What does she tell you?

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I’m nothing short of bursting at the seams with excitement as I sit and wait as patiently as one with “ants in their pants” could possibly wait. I chatter continuously at my husband, as has always been my custom when I’m filled with sheer elation at the prospect of a joyous event that has finally been set in motion. He responds by playing the latest game that he’s downloaded to his cell phone, never bothering to glance in my direction, but often throwing in the occasional “uh huh” or “me too, dear” as I ramble on, as has become his custom over the years. I don’t allow his lack of interest to tarnish the silver lining surrounding the cloud on which I’m currently riding. I’ve been looking forward to this trip for far too long, and nothing can curb my highly elevated enthusiasm at this point.

It has always been a dream of ours to visit Ireland. So much so, that it’s one of the 3 things that I can now contentedly cross off my miniscule bucket list. I have yet to find buried treasure or learn to drive a stick-shift automobile. I likely never will. I consider this for a moment. Well, 1 out of 3 isn’t terrible, I muse, and I’m about to embark on an adventure of such epic proportions  that the other 2 list options can just fade off into oblivion as far as I’m concerned.

Ah, Ireland. The rolling hills, the beautiful countryside, the sheep in the fields, the castles, the food…oh my goodness, the incredible Irish dishes, yes please! The quaint little pubs with local elderly gentlemen regaling visiting foreign folk with fantastically spun tales of wild Irish youth and love gone by, in thick Gaelic accents. I want to drink in the sweet nectar of all this and more.

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The calling of the first class passengers and those needing special assistance snaps me back to reality from somewhere inside my grand daydream. “I still can’t believe it’s finally happening!” I exclaim to my husband for quite possibly the 50th time today. He just smiles and nods as he continues to busily work his fingers over his phone screen.

The kids are finally grown and gone, and we celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary in January. We’ve had our hardships over the years, but we made it through all of them and we deserve this special treat to celebrate how far we’ve come. To celebrate us.  We’ve managed to painstakingly pinch every last penny until Lincoln screams in pain to make this trip possible. I lean over and give my husband a peck on the cheek, before resting my head on his shoulder for a moment. He presses his cheek against the top of my head. I’m proud of us both for finally turning this amazing dream into reality.

I check the time on my phone and fidget in my seat, before deciding to make sure that my passport, I.D., and boarding pass are at the ready for the thousandth time today as I wait for our seat assignments to be called. It’s hard to say if this newfound ritual is compliments of my OCD, or the adrenaline fueled excitement that I’m currently running on. Likely a little bit of both, I surmise.

They finally get around to calling rows 20 through 25. I nudge my husband with my elbow and say, “that’s us.” We proceed to gather up our belongings and head toward the quickly lengthening boarding line.

We finally reach the robotically jovial stewardess at the front of the line, who looks over our boarding passes with an obviously overworked smile. She repeats our seat assignments to us as though we are feeble minded and couldn’t possibly read them on our own, and wishes us a safe and pleasant trip through her gleaming pearly whites.

We make our way down the long gangway, my husband whistling a Christmas tune the entire way as has been his habit for the 20 years that we’ve now been married. It’s July. I stopped bothering to point this fact out to him years ago, and now I just smile and shake my head.

We are greeted by yet another methodically friendly set of flight personnel at the door to the airplane, who welcome us aboard and once again wish us a pleasant journey.

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We inch our way toward the back of the aircraft from among the throng of inconsiderate individuals stopping in the middle of the aisle to fight with overhead bins or argue with other passengers and flight attendants over confused seat assignments. I can see frustration growing on my husband’s face as we shuffle along. Finally, we arrive at seats 24 B and C. I feel a little pang of sadness as I realize that neither of them are a window seat. Ah, well, you get what you pay for I suppose, and we did our best to cut traveling expenses as much as possible so that we could fully enjoy our 2 weeks exploring the lush green land for which we are about to embark. I hand my carry on over to my husband, and he makes quick work of shoving it into the overhead compartment, before we settle into our seats. My husband has Closterphobia issues, so I know he’ll want to sit in the aisle seat. He always does in crowded places.  So I grab the middle seat and proceed to try and get as comfortable as possible, not really paying much attention to the person that already occupies the window seat.

I barely get myself situated before I hear a strong, cheerful, feminine voice  from my left announce, “Hi, I’m Anna.” This boisterous greeting is accompanied by a slim fingered hand boasting pale pink polished nails and 3 over-sized silver cocktail rings extended in front of me. I turn slightly in my seat so that I may comfortably surrender my right hand in acceptance of her handshake.  We make eye contact for a moment and I take in Anna’s friendly features while quickly looking her over.

She’s perhaps 50, Caucasian, taller than I by a good 6 inches, and fit. Her long, frizzy, grayish blond waves are held back from her face by a pink, orange, and black oriental flowered silk scarf wrapped around her head and tied at the nape of her neck. She has a wide pink-lipped smile accompanied by a beautiful set of large, dark grey eyes with soft creases gently nipping at the corners. I take note of her clothing; a bright pink tank top under a thin white cotton off-the-shoulder shirt, with small pink, orange, and yellow flowers embroidered along the neckline. This was tucked into a matching, floor length, gypsy-style skirt held securely around her waist by a tied woven hemp belt. She had kicked off her silver-beaded leather sandals that are now shoved partially under the seat in front of her, and I can just barely make out her perfectly pedicured and pale pink polished toes peeking out from under her the hem of her skirt. In truth, she looks somewhat like she just stepped out of the 1970’s.

I smile and introduce myself in return. I then point to my husband next to me, and introduce him as well. He leans over me and offers a hand for her to shake. After the proper introductions have been made, I point to her skirt and tell her, “My daughter would absolutely love your outfit.” She flashes her brilliant smile once again and says, “Your daughter sounds like my kind of girl.”

The next words out of her mouth admittedly catch me off-guard. “You’re very short,” she proclaims. “Excuse me?” I say. While this is an all too true observation, I’ve yet to have a practical stranger make that assessment so boldly.  I wasn’t quite sure I had even heard her right. She laughs off the expression of shock that must be noticeably written on my face. “I mean your life line; I was noticing that it’s quite short and shallow.” She must have then noticed my expression change to concern because she goes on to quickly add, “Oh no, no. It’s nothing to be concerned about. It doesn’t mean that you have a shortened life-span; it simply means that you have a tendency to be controlled by people and situations.” She extends her hand once again, palm side up, and says, “Here, let me see your hand. I’d be happy to give you a full reading…”

She had misread my cause for concern. The words, “Oh, no thank you, I don’t…” barely escape my lips before my husband, who had, to my surprise, been listening to the exchange over his phone follies, interjects with, “We’re Christians. We don’t have anything to do with astrology or palm reading or any of that sort of thing.”

“Ah, okay,” she rather impatiently snaps, and proceeds to pull out and open a thick paperback novel that she had apparently jammed between her thigh and the armrest before we sat down.

That’s it. The conversation has been called to an abrupt halt. I could read a lot into her tone and half smirk though, which said, “I’ve dealt with you closed minded freaks before, and I’m not about to travel this road again.”

I look at my husband. He peeks over my head at Anna leaning her forehead against the window, now quietly and rather quickly engrossed in her novel. He then looks back at me and shrugs as he shakes his head no.

I knew exactly what he was thinking. Though my husband has been known to dive into a religious debate with all of the passion and fervor of an Olympic gold medalist, he wouldn’t be pressing Anna in further conversation. It was clear that she stood firm in her convictions and had closed off any further exchanges at that point. My husband and I both knew that pressing people that were not at all open to hearing what you had to say would just push them further away from wanting anything to do with God and those that serve Him.

I close my eyes and lean my head back. It’s going to be a long flight. I silently say a prayer for our safety during this flight, and for Anna. May she have a life filled with peace and perhaps, someday, be receptive enough to at least listen to a Christian point of view.

Closed minds comes in many different packages, after all.

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Note from the author: This story is completely fictional but has several truthful ideals and undertones. Though I understood that the point of this prompt was to accept the offer a palm reading and write about what my future may hold therein, for certain obvious reasons, I could not.  I chose to take my story in a different direction, and I hope that those of you that are spiritual and non-spiritual alike are still able to enjoy my story and accept it…open mindedly. 

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Husband Number 2

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If I really want to start putting my marriage into perspective for you, I need to go back 10 and-a-half years ago to the day that I met the love of my life, who I have already introduced as husband number 2. The romance started with a ‘happy birthday’ wish that came across my screen in bright green letters in guild chat as we were running through the hills of East Karana searching for Giants to slay for gold with our band of merry treasure seeking guild-mates.

Lost yet? If you are, then you’re obviously not a gamer.  My husband and I met playing Everquest, or as they called it back in the day, ‘Evercrack’ because it was THAT addictive. We of course moved on to World of Warcraft when that became popular and played for several years, but that’s another story for a time when we wish to argue the pros and cons of Fire Mages and whether or not a Paladin can out-heal a cleric. These days I just dabble with different free online games, like Forsaken World, while he mostly plays games on the X-Box. It works for us, though.

When my husband and I first e-met, I was still in a relationship with my son’s father, and it was actually him that first introduced me to the large, foreboding ogre warrior that I would eventually marry…IRL (that’s ‘in real life’ for those of you that don’t know the gamer lingo), after a whirlwind 4 month online romance. Hey, when you just know, you know. You know?

Now before you get all ‘judgy’ on me for admitting this to you, I hope you’ll understand that when I met my husband, the relationship I was in was already at rock bottom and I had tried to end it several times to no avail. His answer to me when I’d try and get him to leave my apartment would always be “I aint goin’ nowhere, you’ve got my kid here.” Which is true, I did. However, when your relationship turns into nothing but a continuous battle, and every time your boyfriend gets a paycheck he disappears for the entire weekend to go and drink it away without even letting you know where he’ll be, it’s really not a ‘relationship’ at all. I had gotten to the point that if I knew it was the Friday that he was getting paid, I wouldn’t expect to see him until sometime Sunday night and I’d brace myself for the fight when I finally heard his key in the door.  It took me moving on and starting a new relationship to actually get him out of my apartment.

Staying together for the sake of the offspring created in the relationship isn’t always the best course of action if you just can’t make it work and you spend every moment together fighting. They say that there’s a fine line between love and hate, and I couldn’t even think back to the time when I’d officially crossed that line. I don’t hate him anymore, of course, because you can’t call yourself a Christian and still harbor hate for anyone in your heart. I didn’t attend church or have any sort of relationship with God at the time, though, so I didn’t really know any better. I was miserable and terrified of the man because he’d already struck me on several different occasions after he’d been drinking. In all honesty, I just didn’t make a great support team for an alcoholic with a bleeding liver and a mean streak of epic proportions. Besides, when you have to call your parents in the middle of the night to take you to get your vehicle (which he took off in without even asking, by the way) out of impound because your boyfriend has been arrested for drunk driving on an already suspended license, it really makes you take a long hard look at the direction your life is heading in.

Needless to say, he denies our son now because of his anger at me for finally throwing in the towel and walking away from the war that my life had become. He hasn’t spoken to our son or cared to know anything about his life in the 11 years that he’s been alive. When I tracked him down and sent him pictures about 6 or 7 years ago, he responded with, “that can’t be my kid, he looks nothing like me”, and that’s where he left it. I haven’t heard from him directly since. It doesn’t seem to bother my son, though. My husband has been the only daddy he’s ever known for all of these years, and he doesn’t even give his sperm donor a second thought.

Enough of that dreary little drama from days if old, though. My life has been much better since, despite the raging OCD that drives my family crazy.

My husband and I hit it off so well in our online relationship that it soon turned into phone calls, which led to him buying a plane ticket to Michigan where I was born and raised, to see me in person. He said some time after that first meeting that when he saw me standing there to greet him, his first thought was, “I’m going to marry that girl.” You always think that the silly, romantic notion of love at first sight can never happen outside the movies until it happens to you. That’s how it went, though, and as I stood there freezing my ta-tas off on a cold January day on a Florida beach, I still wasn’t sure what hit me as I exchanged “I do’s” with a man that I hadn’t even know for half a year yet. All I knew was that it had to be love. I can assure you, though, that it is love, and we couldn’t have made it the 10 and-a-half years that we have if it weren’t.

What can I say about my lover bear? He’s a morning person. I’m not. He likes sweet tea and coffee. I don’t. He likes math, and I’m pretty sure that 2 and 2 makes 5. He’s an amazing singer. I couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket, and my wailing along with the radio is so bad that it sends the neighborhood dogs into howling fits. Despite all of our differences, though, we still have a lot in common and have fun together when life doesn’t have us bogged down with our everyday routines. He’s just this big, obnoxious child, and even though there are times I want to gouge my eardrums out with a hot poker because he’s just so loud and boisterous ALL OF THE TIME, I still love the big lug with all my heart. I used to call him my hero when he first rescued me from my old life, and I still feel that way. We’ve had our ups and downs just like any relationship, but he’s fairly laid back and easy going, is willing to do just about anything for me, makes me laugh, and is adorably cute. Well, to me, anyways. I like to point to him and say to my teenage daughter, “look at that guy, isn’t he a sexy beast?” She just rolls her eyes and gives me that ‘seriously, mom?’ look. Then she says something along the lines of, “Ugh. Gross.” Ah, well, to each her own. I don’t really expect her to agree with me, I just enjoy yanking her chain. It’s one of parenthood’s guilty pleasures.

Let’s call this a good stopping point for now. In the next installment of my life I’ll start to introduce you to our house full of teenagers. Buckle up for that crazy trip. The twists and turns down that road are endless.

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