We, the judges, were between the cream based and the stews, trying to let everything digest as we chit chatted in the back room of the event, hidden away from the competitors. Sophia, a kind woman with a velvet voice, had a local radio segment featuring everyone in the food business from cooks to farmers to artisans. Annie, was an energetic adventurer, who worked for a regional travel magazine known for its beautiful photography. I was not sure what she did exactly but her social media posts were always from somewhere exciting around the state and she always seemed to meet famous people. I fell into the gig by being a local hobby farmer who cooked well, and was a coworker of the food writer at the local paper, who could not be there. My son had come to this event for years, starting when he was 8 when I could not find a sitter on a Saturday morning. Now 12, he came along because he had a sophisticated palette and liked to eat. He was the unofficial fourth judge.
“Would you read OUR palms?” Sophia asked so sweetly, no one could refuse her.
Annie and I chimed in enthusiastically, bouncing a little in our chairs, “yes! Yes! Read ours, please?” My preteen son pretended to be disinterested but he was watching her every move, secretly hoping he would be included too.
Duffy smiled at the request or maybe because she had turned “women of a certain age” into the giggling teenagers she once had taught. “No, no,” she demurred, “It has been so long. I am not sure I remember much.”
She was lying so we begged a little more, seeing she enjoyed being in the spotlight.
“Ok hold out your palm,” she commanded Sophia.
After tracing the lines with her gnarled fingers and staring deeply at the open palm, she spoke. “Your career is going well for you. You do what you love. You have a good life line, and your love line is interesting too. The love of your life is someone you have known a long time. Is that true?”
“Well I don’t really have a significant other right now.” Sophia blushed. She had a gift for bringing interesting people together. She had wonderful brunches and dinner parties. I was surprised that she had not attracted a wonderful guy through one of those events.
“You need to start going to some reunions to find him, I think! How else are you going to meet him? Do you have one coming up?”
Sophie laughed and said she would look into it.
My palm was outstretched waiting for her predictions. She studied the lines, cocking her head as if puzzled.
“You have had a long career but I see you changing careers. Also, your lines say you have three children or are going to. But two will be from a different man than the other”
“Nope, I think the ship has sailed for me to have other kids. I just have my awesome son over there.” I laughed, as he rolled his eyes at the compliment.
“I wonder what that means then. However, your life line is very, very long.” She turned to my son and said, “I hope you are ready to have her around a super long time.” He nodded enthusiastically.
“Well let’s look at yours then,” she said taking his hand gently. “Interesting, you will have someone in love with you but you will be in love with someone else, maybe her best friend. You may have some juggling to do. But you will live a long time too, so you can take care of your mom.” He was embarrassed at the prediction for his love life but promised he would take care of me.
Annie was last.
“You will live a long life but hmmmmm, interesting….” She trailed off.
“what, what?” Annie was impatient to hear her twist.
“You will have several loves over your lifetime. Not just one.” Annie smiled as if it made perfect sense to her. She had not discussed her personal life much with us, but I had a feeling she had an interesting private life. I was pretty sure she had a girlfriend but I never asked. She was always becoming instant friends with the celebrities she met. She didn’t encourage Duffy to go on, as if she wanted to keep her secrets to herself.
Just then, I realized that Duffy had not said anything about my love life. I asked if she could revisit my palm because she forgot to tell me about my love life. Would I have many, like Annie? Would I have someone from my past, like Sophia? Will someone new come into my life and sweep me off my feet? I had to know. Patience was not one of my better qualities.
I thrust my palm out to her, then the other.
“Here read both, I am ambidextrous! One might be better than the other.”
She took my hands, looking carefully. Her head raised and she looked me deep in my eyes and said with a small grin. “You will live a long, long life.”
“Wait...... no, love life........what is the prediction for my love life?” I might have seemed a little desperate.
She held both of my hands, and said once again, “You will live a long, long life."
The attendant rolled in with the next batch of food for us to judge. Duffy sprang into action getting them on the table for us. Annie and Sophia looked at my crestfallen face, then each other, and laughed. My son didn’t get it.
“Well ladies,” I said when they were done laughing, “Guess I will have to figure out how to enjoy my long, long lonely life. Suggestions are welcome.”