fortune cookie…

He kept thinkin’ she’d come back to him…looked ’round the house for items she might’ve left behind…a watch…maybe a spoon ring…some trinket he’d won for her at the county fair back when they were kids…just somethin’ small he could keep in his front pocket to remember her by…he found a prediction from a Chinese fortune cookie…read it and placed the small piece of paper in his wallet along with a couple of bills…a debit card from the bank…cigarette coupons…

She kept all her fortunes…every time they ordered out she’d ask for extra cookies…she liked havin’ a choice…this one said…,you’ll have long and fruitful life…,printed in red ink…smelled like a vanilla bean…for some reason she left it behind…maybe it was a sign…he thought…maybe a sign that she wanted him to have this fortune instead of her…purposely leavin’ it there on the counter the mornin’ she took off…next to the half eaten kung pao chicken…it was a good fortune…he wondered why she didn’t take it…maybe she left it behind by accident…maybe…

A long and fruitful life…, he wasn’t sure ’bout that…fruitful life…what did that mean…kids…money…women…would every thing he touched from now on turn to gold…the old man didn’t think so…no…this fortune was meant for her…she was a young one with a future ahead of her…his days were numbered…

So…he got in the pickup truck and went out lookin’ for her with that fortune in his back pocket…went lookin’ everywhere…all over town…past the strip malls…bars…the trailer park where he knew she had friends…her Dodge was nowhere to be seen…he decided at that point to make it a nationwide search…he’d go all over America lookin’ for her…no clues…just instinct…

And he headed out east on 30…drivin’ into Ohio with stops in Toledo…Sandusky…Cleveland…drove on 80 down to Youngstown and over into Pittsburgh on 76…looked all over them cities…nowhwere…she was nowhere…called relatives of her’s…her sister in Albany…a cousin in Framingham…they hadn’t heard anyhting from her…least that’s what they said…

Then one night he broke down…started cryin’ at a truck stop to a Johnny Cash song playin’ on the radio…AM station…it was at that point he’d figured it out…she was gone…never to be seen by him again…it was a fruitless search…maybe the whole thing was a joke…a trick played by her…maybe she could see him in a crystal ball makin’ a fool of himself…and she was laughin’ at him…he had these strange thoughts…had ’em…

There at the truck stop he took out the fortune and read it one more time…ripped it up into small pieces and blew it out into the night air…sat there and thought ’bout where to go next…laughed out loud…,fruitful life…,he wiped his green eyes and put her in gear…it was time to go home…

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