I hate Chinese food. It gives me the runs. I only order it for the fortune cookies. Every good decision I’ve ever made has come from these all-knowing crescents of fried dough.
It’s only fitting that I take Monica to Golden Dragon Restaurant for our first meal together as man and wife.
I tear into my cookie first as my bride pushes rice across the plate with her fork.
“You discover treasures where others see nothing unusual,” I read.
“I wonder what that is,” she says nonchalantly with all the food in her mouth stuffed in one cheek.
“Don’t you know, beautiful?” I pull her chin for a kiss, and she burbs into my mouth.
“Excuse me,” she mumbles.
“You could fart and I wouldn’t care.”
She rolls her eyes. “Please.”
“Here.” I take the second cookie from the napkin holder. “Open yours.”
“Isn’t it tradition to finish your meal before your read your fortune?”
I look down at the plate of food she’s been picking at for the last 30 minutes. The food is most likely cold now.
“I think we’re both done.” I make a mental note of one more thing we have in common.
She huffs and takes the packet, opens it slowly as I squirm in anticipation. She crumbles the cookie in her fist and pulls the ribbon of paper from the rubble.
“There’s still time to change your mind.”
I scratch my beard. “Hmm, that’s a new one.” I take the paper from between her two hands, which stay in place, as if someone has hit a pause button.
I flip the paper over for the lucky numbers on the back. “3, 2, 1.” A countdown.
I look up, and Monica is on her feet.
“Where are you going?”
She shoulders her purse. “I’m sorry, I can’t do this.”
She only shakes her head and rushes out of the door.
In the napkin holder I see another cookie that wasn’t there before. My mind begs me to go after her, but my hand reaches for the cookie.
“A clingy lover drives a wedge.”
I remain in the booth and write the lesson down on the back of a napkin, along with its lucky number: 0.
© 2021 Nortina Simmons
3-2-1. Only three hours left, and three stories left to go. This one came in the “Nick of Time.”