I found one of those little slips of paper from a fortune cookie the other day in the laundry room. It seemed like fate that I found it there. It was meant to be, eh? Other people surely had seen it there — that little sliver of white paper waiting to tell your fortune just hanging out there on the not-so-clean floor of the laundry room. I am almost superstitious when it comes to these things. Wasn’t it mean to be that I found it on that particular day? Or did I pick it up just because I still had nine minutes left until my laundry was finished and hadn’t taken down anything to read while I waited.
Whatever the reason, once it was in my hand I knew it was my fortune for the day. Although, unlike horoscopes, fortune-cookie fortunes are not date specific. Therefore, this little slip of paper may be my fortune for the week or month or perhaps the rest of my life whichever I choose it to be. And I didn’t have to crack, let alone eat, one of those dry tasteless little holders of fortunes.
Years ago, when I was still living in DC and driving my little, rusty silver-blue Tercel — I loved that car — someone left a nickel and two pennies and, best of all, a fortune-cookie fortune taped to my windscreen. It was weird and cool at the same time. I had no idea who did it and never really wanted to know. The fortune said, “Your dearest wish will come true.” I wasn’t sure whether that wish would cost me the six cents, so I kept it together all these years. It is still tucked in the little wooden box with the sliding top that I had put it in when I found it — complete with the Scotch tape that my fortune teller had used to tape it all on my windscreen. One cannot be too careful with un-expected fortunes. Are there time limits to fortune-cookie fortunes? Is there a Best-By date that marks when the fortunes are no longer valid? But, since this particular fortune came by way of a patron and/or at least someone with a good sense of humour, maybe my dearest wish had not come true yet. Therefore, it was a good thing that I saved that little piece of paper all these years — and the six cents which perhaps was meant to pay for the dearest wish.
There’s a company not far from my neighbourhood that makes fortune cookies. I like the idea of that. I imagine little gnomes like those elves who make cookies, writing and stuffing those little pieces of fortunes in each cookie. I really don’t want to know how they’re made or if all the fortunes are mass produced in China. I rather think that this particular fortune wafted its way up the hill and blew into the laundry room for me to find.
It isn’t a particularly spectacular fortune. There are no predictions of hot romance waiting in the wings or financial abundance falling like manna from the skies or an exotic vacation. No, it is just a little slip of white paper with two little smiley faces — I hate smiley faces, honestly — on either end and then a string of lucky numbers — 5 17 31 34 37 42 — stretched along the bottom. Hmm, maybe I should played those number that day in the lottery. Then, in the centre, right at the top, is The Fortune:
Someone special is thinking of you.
That’s it. Nothing else. But, you know, on that particular day sitting in the basement waiting for a washing machine to finish its cycle, it was enough. In fact, it was a pretty damn good fortune. I’ll put it in the little wooden box with the sliding top with the other one and wait for it all to come true.