I wasn’t going far, but I was wearing heels and didn’t feel like blisters. I would cab it to Columbus Circle because the tmobile hotspot at the Starbucks near me was out of service. When I told the bearded driver my destination he thanked me and asked if I was going shopping.
“No, I’m a writer.” As if saying I’m a writer explains that I’ll be sitting in a bookstore within the vertical shopping empire.
“Ah, a writer. What do you write?”
“Non-fiction.” This is an answer, I have learned, that somehow satiates people.
“Let me see your hand. I read hands.” Nothing in me hesitated to give him my hand; there was after all a barricade with an opening far too small for him to ever pull me through. And, his eyes were warm. “I’m a writer, too. I am writing a book about being a taxicab driver and all the 5 minute relationships we make in New York. But English is my second language, so it will be difficult for me.” Then we hit a red light and he begins to examine my right hand. “You’re a Libra, a therapist to everyone.”
I smile, thinking if my friends had heard him they would shake their heads affirmatively. “Yes, that’s true. That’s why I’ve got two books coming out.”
“You have a very long lifeline, very long. You’re an old soul, too. You see these double lines right here?” He then moved his thumb back and forth in the palm of my hand. “These break your lifeline. You will hit your luck and become very famous between 30 and 35. Do you see them?” I didn’t say anything. “You will also have a Phd. You are supposed to have a Phd. You should also have 3 children. Supposed to. You’ve had three significant relationships but the third one changed you very much.” He looks into my eyes as his thumb rubs just under where my pinky finger begins. “That third relationship was like a marriage, and you felt the divorce. Now your eyes are open, and you’re right to be selfish. You will have one other significant relationship and it will last.” Oh thank god. I began to breathe again. “But right now, you are right to be selfish and cautious. And in your next relationship, your eyes will always be open. You will never make the same mistakes you made again. Very famous. You are a very open person, very open, and it serves you well. I am very lucky to have you in my cab.”
Abdul and I exchanged phone numbers. “I will have to come up with a pen name for my book,” he said. “Otherwise my wife will want to divorce me. Some of those 5 minute relationships happened to be ones where she wouldn’t approve.”
“Anonymity really isn’t my thing, but yes, trust your guy instinct on that.” And we both smiled. "Okay, your gut instinct." He invited me for Indian food at his home in Astoria. Clearly, I am not going; or at least not going unaccompanied by a very strong date.
Maybe I believed everything Abdul said because he told me everything I wanted to hear. Well, I couldn’t care less about the Phd. bit, but everything else was dead on. But couldn’t everything he said be applied to anyone else my age? A very long time ago, when my grandfather Papoo took me to a psychic in Florida, I returned to the car glowing. My cheeks hurt from smiling. “He said I was a princess in my former life, Papoo.”
“What’s he gonna say? In your past life you were folding linens in some hotel?” This time, though, with Abdul, he kept things in the near future and recent past, and I didn’t ask for any of it. And something tells me, just as it always has, that everything he said will come true if I want it to.