“Look here, your Menu says you give a fortune cookie with this order. I always order the same thing. How can you not give me the fortune cookie today then?”
She was adamant on receiving her fortune cookie along with her noodles. The old man serving her looked at her, his eyes holding eons of mysteries and wisdom in them. They were black as coals and sad today. He bowed low and said softly, “I know that, Miss. Fortune cookies do come with this plate of noodles, but not today.”
The teenager was outraged. “How can you say that ! I just saw that man who was served the same order, with a fortune cookie.”
The man tried again, this time his tone holding a hint of reserve and something else – pity?- that sent tiny chills down her spine, “We only serve you cookies when you are in luck.”
She paled, “You mean I am not in luck?” Then as if she was an adult, she gathered some scorn in her voice (like she had heard her mother do many times), and said, “What rot! Fortune cookies don’t predict or don’t talk about luck. It is just a cookie! They talk about lessons of life. My mother says so.”
The man smiled understandingly, “Indeed they mostly do. But some lessons should be simply taken as they come. It is better not to know them in advance sometimes.”
“I don’t care what you have to say. I want my fortune cookie. That’s it.” The girl said, her voice growing shrill. Any moment now, she was going to cry and attract a lot of attention. Her eyes were already filling with moisture.
The old man sighed deeply and said, “So be it. You will get your fortune cookie Miss. Do take your seat. These noodles have gone cold; I will serve you hot ones again shortly.”
It was five minutes before the girl was served. It was not the old man who served her this time, but a young boy- almost her age. His almond shaped eyes were black and beautiful, she thought. He had been around here before, she was sure- only he had never served her. She smiled at him warmly and he smiled back just as warmly.
“What was the old man talking about?” Thought the girl to herself. Demanding the fortune cookie had brought this young good looking boy to serve her. Happy with her present condition, she said, “Thank you.”
The boy smiled at her again, and winked, “Enjoy your food and here’s your much-fought-for fortune cookie to read.”
The girl pinkened a little, and bowed her head in his direction. The boy vanished back into the kitchen, giving her a small grin. She started eating her noodles. Today she was alone here in the restaurant while her mother was working. But it didn’t matter. She finished her noodles slowly, hoping the boy would come back again. He did not. She wiped her mouth with the sleeve of her smocked dress. Taking the fortune cookie in her hand, she moved out of the restaurant, giving the old man standing by the counter a smug glance.
Her house was just two streets away. She jaywalked along the side pavement, a big smile gracing her face. She had her noodles, and she had had her fortune cookie. She would go home and open it to see what it said. She had all the messages from previous fortune cookies she had eaten in a jam-jar on her bedside table. For someone who had little possessions in life, there were only two things she treasured – this every day ritual of fortune cookies and the regular once-a-week ice-cream treats her mother gave her.
She was about to turn into the next street that held her tiny home, when she was tapped on her shoulder from behind. She gasped and turned. The boy who had served her noodles stood next to her. She smiled widely, asking him, “What are you doing here? You nearly scared me.”
He smiled back sunnily, “Sorry. But I wanted to know, what does your fortune cookie say?”
“I haven’t read it. I read it when I am in my house. “ The girl explained, a little breathless at his closeness.
“Why not read it now and see what it says?” The boy suggested.
The girl shook her head stubbornly, “No, I follow my ritual every night before going to sleep. I read it then because it brings lessons I can think about in sleep.”
The boy nodded, “Okay. I was curious. Say, would you like to go out with me for an ice cream now ?”
The girl nodded, her eyes twinkling, “I’d love to!”
The boy brought his hand forward towards her. Shyly she put her hand in his and they moved away from her house, and went to the nearby street where an ice cream store sold mouth-watering flavours. The boy ordered strawberry and she ordered chocolate. It was her favourite.
While they both demolished their ice-creams, they talked. Without her knowing when, she invited the boy into her house. He looked at her hesitantly and said, “Are you sure you wish to invite me in ?”
She laughed softly, “It is fine really. Do come in.”
The boy entered her house at her invitation and the door closed after him.
It was the early hours of dawn when a tired looking woman entered the house the little girl lived in. She was her mother. She called out for the girl. Hearing no reply, the mother thought she might be sleeping. She was too tired to call out again. Taking off her work clothes, she washed and walked towards the bed where her daughter would be sleeping.
The bed was empty. Puzzled, the woman wondered if her daughter were in the toilet. She walked to it and opened it, to find it empty. Her thoughts were tired and chaotic as she walked back to bed. She was about to get into the bed, when something caught her eye. A fortune cookie lay crushed open, the note by its side. But where was her daughter who treasured these weird fortune cookie messages?
She bent to pick it up, accidentally dislodging the cookie. A stream of red escaped and ran on the floor, as the fortune cookie abandoned its position. The mother looked down at the note, her eyes wide with shock, a silent scream ringing in her head that went on and on. The cookie read,
“Death comes in the form of a familiar stranger- don’t invite him in. ”
*Do you like to read romance? If so, you can read Fan Fiction stories here or go to my other blog http://amateurstorywriter.wordpress.com/and read an exciting modern romance called “LOVE CONQUERS” *