In the 8th grade, I taught myself how to read palms so I could fake predict the future of a boy I wanted to touch. I can’t even believe how creepy that sentence is. And even worse? Totally 100% true.
I would take my time, tracing each indent and wrinkle with my fingers, pausing for dramatic effect. I’d “mmm” and squint, lifting his hand up towards my face, studying it closer. Mostly, I was lying my ass off, but I accomplished what I set out to do. I was sharing a physical moment with someone I spent hours scribbling nonsense in my diary about. I was a modern day Helga Pataki with better eyebrows and softer persona.
My “I can read palms” trick became my go-to move. It was completely juvenile, never lead to anything other than a moment of sweaty hand action, and perfectly highlighted how awkward and naive I was when it came to seduction.
I would see the girls who could wink and dance, and I thought why can’t I wink and dance like that? I studied them, their glossy hair and perfectly straight teeth. All I could manage was an exaggerated blink and rhythmically swaying back and forth. Why weren’t the guys swarming me? I had a gap between my front teeth and bangs that were always sticking up. But at least I could decipher romantic fate in the crease of a palm.
I guess it’s kind of cute when you’re just a nervous 13 year old. There’s something sweet about the absurdity of it. The notes I kept. The first time I asked my friend, “Is this what love feels like?” I miss those times. The newness of it all.
But fast forward the clock and there I was again, without the excuse of being a foolish middle schooler, and now fully into what I’d been told was adulthood, slumped against a wall next to Dean, a boy with a girlfriend who I desperately wished could be mine. I tapped his hand with my pointer finger, boasting my skills.
“I can read palms, you know.”
And like they always would, he smirked, but gave himself over without any hesitation.
I pressed my fingers into the center of his hand, feeling my way for a lifeline or heart line or whatever bullshit I was spouting this time. I could feel his pulse. I told myself it was actually his heart beat and it quickened as I stroked his skin. I looked at his fingers, explaining what their varying lengths meant. He laughed, and a sudden warm all over gooey feeling told me to keep touching his hands. I kept touching his hands.
But I knew these were not my hands to hold. I explained the curve and thinness of the line farthest from his thumb meant relationship trouble. I was playing with fire now. I knew I would never hold his hands like she did. I continued, telling him this line indicated when he fell in love, he fell hard and often bruised because of it. I could hear him swallow. His eyes, more intense. Like the most vague of fortune cookies, I told him a change might be coming. He swallowed again.
I traced the lines with more fervor. I wanted to close my eyes and pretend this was our morning ritual. Dean playing etch a sketch with his fingers on my stomach and I would paint pictures on his back. But I couldn’t close my eyes. I was going to have to let go soon. These were not my hands to hold. I knew that. It didn’t matter how gooey I felt. I had to let go.
A year later, I was walking through the quietest sleepy hollow suburb I’d ever seen when I noticed a pale blue sign. An almost ethereal“Psychic Readings” flickering in the middle of the most white-picket fence town. So I thought, what the hell, why not?
She traced my lines the same way I had always done. I thought she was probably bullshitting me, the same way I had done for so many years. She explained what she was doing. I listened, half reciting my own script under my breath. Life line. Heart line. Yeah, yeah. I knew this already. But then she let go, looked at me with her deep brown eyes.
“I see that you are more in love with your imagination than people. You fall for ideas. You do not fall for people.”
I thought about Dean. I thought about my 8th grade crush. I thought about my last relationship, the way it crumbled before we were even able to lay down foundation. Maybe she was right. Maybe I like thinking of ways to hold hands more than actually holding them. Maybe I am addicted to what ifs with no intention of ever making them realities.
I am so ridiculously in love with fantasy. But fantasies will not be there to kiss your forehead in the morning.