BigCloset Classic

Fortune Cookie
Date: Friday, August 09 @ 01:00:16
Topic Big Closet TG Stories


-- Always eat your

by Wanda



"You will marry a man with red hair and have five children."

I read it again, still a little amused. What an odd thing to find in a fortune cookie. I laughed out loud and Roger asked, "What is it?"

I showed him the fortune and he grinned. "I've got red hair and I've always wanted a big family."

I snorted, "Yeah, too bad we're both guys, huh?"

He noddded and laughed again, "If you were a woman, Bill, would you marry me?"

"The way you snore?" I joked.

We both laughed but I sat there reading the fortune again for a moment. "Somehow, this reminds me that we don't see enough of each other any more."

"That? Well, yeah, I guess we don't, you work in the city now and I'm running my Dad's office here in Podunkia."

I smiled. Our private name for the suburb we grew up in, we'd known each other since pre-school, gone to the same schools and even the same church. Best buddies forever, we'd sworn, and when we were ten, we'd written it in blood on a white plank and dropped the wood in the river to watch it float away. We shared a lot of things over the years including a lot of private jokes.

We didn't say anything for awhile, then Roger called to the owner of our favorite Szechuan Cafe, "Tom, can we get a check?"

"Sure thing," said Tom but he had a line in front of him at the cash register.

I fingered the paper of the silly fortune, "I guess," I began but I couldn't really say it.

Roger nodded. "I know," he said. Another thing about us, we usually knew what the other was thinking and could leave lots of things unsaid. Even if we only saw each other two or three weekends a month now.

"You still can't get coffee in a Chinese resatuaurant," I complained, sipping the weak cooling tea while we waited for our check.

"No," he said, "You can't."

I wiped my face with a napkin.

"I don't feel fifty," said Roger.

"You're not, you're 52."

"You know what I mean."

"Yeah."

"And you'll be 52 in less than a year."

"I know."

Tom brought the check and we piled money on top of it. We knew what the total would be without looking. Now it was time to go and all our reasons for lingering had disappeared.

"I'm divorced again," he said.

"I'd heard."

"You've never found anyone you want to spend the rest of your life with, though? Or never been fool enough to think you had found her?" He grinned ruefully.

I made a noise. We both ended up looking at the scrap of paper still lying in front of me.

"I'm a three-time loser at love, Bill," he said.

I didn't put my hand on top of his where it lay on the table. Instead, I stood up and reached for my jacket. After a moment, Roger did the same.

We waved goodbye to Tom as we left. "Next month, guys," he said beaming at us.

"Yeah, sure," I said, smiling back.

Roger handed me something and I put it in my pocket. Outside, we stood in the greenish parking lot lights beside our cars and talked until the little strip mall began to go dark, one shop at a time. It got colder and we put on the jackets we had been carrying. Tom brought us styro-cups of hot tea before he closed and locked the cafe. He flashed his lights at us as he pulled out of the lot and drove away.

We drank the tea and talked about people we had known in school, things we'd done together, and apart. We talked about the construction tile business which is what Roger's father did and the technical book business which is what I did. We didn't talk politics or sports. We didn't talk about Roger's three ex-wives or my non-existent girlfriends. We talked about whether there would ever be another moon landing, and why fools seem to be in charge of television programming.

"You've got a long drive, back to the city," Roger said finally.

"Yeah."

"It's after 11."

"Closer to 12."

"Yeah."

Finally, we shook hands and clapped shoulders and got in our cars. Roger pulled up along side me while I fumbled with the belt. We looked at each other through two layers of safety glass. I nodded. He smiled and nodded back and drove away.

When I got home to my apartment in the city that night, I took what he'd given me as we left the restaurant out of my pocket and read the fortune again.

"You will marry a man with red hair and have five children."
TG but other than that I'm afraid I can't classify it.
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