Sunday Scribbling..... Fortune Cookie
I know what they are, because they turn up in movies, don’t they? There was one where someone put an engagement ring inside a fortune cookie, I think. So I know what they are, but they don’t offer them in Irish Chinese restaurants. I don’t know why. Maybe they’re a peculiarly American-Chinese thing. Or maybe the Chinese people who came here had enough to be doing without worrying about where to source Fortune-Cookies, and they knew the Irish wouldn’t kick up a fuss about getting a little cookie at the end of a meal, but I’d never actually had one until very recently. They turned up at an up-market restaurant, and we were all tickled pink with that, but for the life of me, I can’t remember what my fortune said.
The one I remember having, the one that felt like the first real fortune cookie I’d had came to me on my last night in America. This family – these wonderful people who have taken me into their hearts, their home, their lives – bring me to share a meal at their favourite Chinese restaurant, and we have sticky dumplings (potstickers? ribstickers?), soup, all kinds of good things swing by on the Lazy Susan. We share. We enjoy being together, and I still cannot believe I am here, after three weeks, meeting so many wonderful people, traveling, through three states (well, bits of them!), and back again, to my friends, my newly-adopted American family. I don’t just feel like part of the family, I feel like part of their community. A teacher comes by the table to congratulate the daughter who’s just graduated from High School. The waiter calls me the “sister”. I’m so pleased! I belong here. When we go back to their home, there will be a few hours sleep before a very early-morning trip to the airport. Diana insists there will be no cab. She’s driving me, and we will have the quiet of San Francisco early morning to get there.
But before that, as the meal ends, there are the fortune-cookies. Ah. The tradition. Let’s see. And we each take our cookie. Mother, Father, Aunt, two daughters, and me. We check out our little slips of paper. There are words about love, and memories. There are words about friendship. There are words about trust and truth. My words… I’d like to say I remember them exactly, but I don’t. Yet I carry the sense of them with me. It was something like “When you have found something in your heart, it can never be lost”. If that’s not what the fortune-cookie really said, it’s what it really meant to me. I carry them in my heart.
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