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Excerpt from Think Twice Before Crossing

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“A Marked Palm” in Think Twice Before Crossing: A Memoir

Of all the questions to ask someone, you would think that “Why aren’t you dead?” wouldn’t be at the top of the list. However, I’ve been confronted with this very question on more than one occasion. And it’s not because some people hate me and want me dead, but rather, it seems, I really should be dead. It’s puzzling, but I have been told by three palm readers on three separate occasions that my life, as I know it, is over. My time has run out. That I should not be alive and yet I’m still breathing. That’s what they tell me. But how do I respond to such comments?             

And from palm readers!   

I don’t usually believe in those people who see into the future and tell you what the lines on your hands mean. And I wasn’t about to start listening to their musings. Well, at least, not when the first one spoke of impending death. But after the second and the third repeated similar messages, I had to start wondering. I didn’t solicit their opinions. Oh, no. They sought me out. Starting in my mid-twenties their paths each crossed mine, all independent of one another.           

Whenever I hear anyone mention an affinity for palm reading, I look for the nearest exit. But no matter what I do to avoid their glare, they somehow pick me out of a crowd. Once singled-out, there is no hope for escape. It is like that feeling of being in a group of people and there’s that one person who wants to talk to you to the point of harassment. No one wants to stand next to this person, but someone ultimately has to. I seem to be that one. I’m the one the weirdo always seems to find.            

The subject of death and strife is always the focus of the conversation with these palm readers, whom I’ve callously dubbed the mysterious three: Carmella Young, Reynaldo San Miguel, and Mrs. Irina Chenko. They, briefly, and unexpectedly, have passed through my life; each as different as could be. One was a middle-aged career woman from Minnesota; another, a suave, dashing male European socialite, while the third one was an elderly eccentric Russian matron. And although the mysterious three each met me only once, the impact of their words has been everlasting. Their revelations were like shockwaves through my life; too harsh to ever forget, and too intense and dramatic to ignore. What did they mean? Why were they so intent on telling me I should be dead? My goal was to figure it all out, once and for all.


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