Good Fortunes This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


   I drew a line ofblack on my eyelid as my mother tied a scarf around my head.

"Whatare you going to tell them?"she said.

"Whatever they want tohear, I guess. They'll all probably ask if they're going to be rich andfamous."

"Maybe not. You might be surprised," my mothersaid, showering me with colorful plastic beads.

We drove to Mrs. Fay'shouse; she had asked me to play a fortuneteller at her son's Halloween party.When we arrived, my mother ushered my brother in through the front, while I stoletoward the garage entrance.

Mrs. Fay guided me into a closet with a blacklight and furnished with a small chair and table, under which rested a bin ofcandy. I sat in the purple-tinged darkness, waiting. "Ready for your firstchild, Madame Fortuneteller?" Mrs. Fay asked.

"Yes, come in. Howare you?" I asked the boy in a slasher costume.

"Good," hesaid with a skeptical look on his cocky, nine-year-old face. "What am Igoing to do when I grow up? Be famous?"

I tried to look mysterious."Yes, you will be famous. You will be on television. You will be ... aperformer, no, an actor, adored by millions. Does that soundgood?"

"But I don't want to be an actor," he said. "Iwant to play hockey."

I suppressed a startled "Oh," tryingto repair the damage. "You will be on television acting out ... hockey. Myvisions are sometimes hard to interpret."

He seemed pleased to haveoutwitted me. I handed him a Tootsie Roll and a box of Dots. "You maygo." On a whim, I added, "May the spirits be with you." It soundedvery fortuneteller-like to me.

Several other children followed. Mrs. Fayhelped by whispering, "This one wants to be a bird," or "This onewants to be a scientist," or "This one's a smart-aleck."

Myback ached by the time the last child, a ghost, came in. His name wasJosh.

"You will be very successful in your career and lovelife," I said, holding back a yawn. "Do you have anyquestions?"

He looked at me with wide eyes. "Um, am I goingto get held back again this year?"

I forgot about my aching back.The words hit me in the stomach. His voice rang with broken hope, an insecurity Iwas unused to hearing in a child's voice. "No, no, child, you will not beheld back. You are very smart."

"How old will I be in seventhgrade?"

I knew he was nine. I counted on my fingers under the table."You will be 13. I was 13 in seventh grade."

"Did you getheld back, too?" he asked.

"No, but I had an extra year ofpreschool, which is the same thing," I said. "People like you and me,we think differently. We have minds that are too restless to stay where otherswant them to be."

He nodded like he understood.

"Don'tworry," I said, praying my words would be true. "You will be veryhappy."

I handed him an extra Tootsie Roll Pop. "May the spiritsbe with you."

"You, too," he said with a smile.




This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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