The Fortune Cookie Prophecy
I was married three times before I was seven years old.
My older brother Gary performed the ceremonies in our basement. Gary was good at entertaining the family and neighborhood kids with his creative ideas. Since I was the youngest boy in our group, I was often on the receiving end of his creativity.
What I remember most about those weddings is that all the girls were at least five years older than I was, and they all had beautiful eyes that sparkled when they laughed. Those weddings taught me to imagine what it would be like to find my soul mate one day and to be sure that I would know her by her beautiful eyes.
Puberty hit me late. I was still afraid of the opposite sex when I was fifteen, and yet I prayed every night for the girl I would marry. I asked God to help her do well in school and to be happy and full of energy-wherever and whoever she was.
I first kissed a girl when I was twenty-one. From that time forward, I dated many beautiful and talented young ladies, searching for the girl I had prayed for in my youth and still certain that I would know her by her eyes.
One day, my phone rang. "Don," it was my mother. "You know I told you about the Addisons, who moved in next door to us. Well, Clara Addison keeps asking me to invite you over for cards some night."
"Sorry, Mom, I've got a date that night."
"How could you? I haven't even told you what night it is?" my mother responded with exasperation.
"It doesn't matter when. I'm sure the Addisons are nice people, but I'm not going to waste an evening socializing with people who don't have any eligible daughters."
That's how stubborn I was-I was positive that there was no reason for me to go to visit the Addisons.
Years passed. I was twenty-six, and my friends were getting nervous about my prospects. They kept lining up blind dates for me. Many of these dates were fiascoes, and they were interfering with my social life. So I made up a few rules about blind dates:
1. No dates recommended by my mother (moms don't understand the sex-appeal factor).
2. No dates recommended by a female (they're too easy on each other).
3. No dates recommended by a single guy friend (if she's so awesome, how come he hasn't asked her out?).
In three simple steps, I eliminated 90 percent of all my blind dates, including one recommended by my old friend Karen. She called one evening to tell me that she had become good friends with a beautiful girl who reminded her of me. She said she knew we would hit it off. "Sorry," I said, "you're ruled out by rule number two."
"Don," she said, "You're crazy, and your silly rules are eliminating the girl you've been waiting for. But have it your way. Just take her name and phone number, and when you change your mind, call her."
To get Karen to stop bothering me about it, I said I would. The girl's name was Susan Maready. I never called her.
Just a couple of weeks later, I ran into my old buddy Ted in the university cafeteria. "Ted," I said. "You look like you're walking on air."
"Can you see stars under my feet?" he said, laughing. "The fact is, I just got engaged last night."
"Yeah," he said, "at thirty-two, I was beginning to wonder if any woman was going to have me." He pulled his wallet out of his pocket. "Here," he said, suddenly serious, "look at this.
It was a thin strip of paper from a fortune cookie. "You will be married within a year," it said.
"That's wild," I said. "They usually say something that would fit anyone, like 'You have a magnetic personality. They were really taking a chance with that one."
"No kidding," he said. "And look at me now."
A few weeks later, my roommate Charlie and I were eating dinner at a Chinese restaurant. I shared this story about Ted's fortune cookie prediction, and his subsequent engagement. Just then, the waiter brought over our postmeal fortune cookies. Charlie laughed at the coincidence as we opened our cookies. Mine said, "You have a magnetic personality." His said, "You or a close friend will be married within a year." A chill ran up my spine. This was really strange. Something told me to ask Charlie if I could keep his fortune, and he handed it to me with a smile.
Not long afterward, my classmate Brian said he wanted to introduce me to a young woman named Susan Maready. I was sure I'd heard that name before, but couldn't remember how or where. Since Brian was married, and therefore I wouldn't be breaking my "rules" about being fixed up by single guys, I accepted his offer to meet Susan.
Susan and I spoke on the phone, and planned a bike ride and a cookout. Then, the meeting-and as soon as I saw her, my heart started beating hard and wouldn't stop. Her large GREen eyes did something to me I couldn't explain. But somewhere in me, I knew that it was love at first sight.
After that wonderful evening, I remembered that this hadn't been the first time someone tried to fix me up with Susan. It all came back to me. Her name had been popping up all over the place for a long time. So the next time I had a chance to talk to Brian alone, I asked him about it.
He squirmed and tried to change the subject.
"What is it, Brian?" I asked.
"You'll have to ask Susan," was all he'd say.
So I did.
"I was going to tell you," she said. "I was going to tell you.
"Come on, Susan," I said. "Tell me what? I can't stand the suspense."
"I've been in love with you for years," she said, "since the first time I saw you from the Addisons' living room window. Yes-it was me they wanted you to meet. But you wouldn't let anyone introduce us. You wouldn't let the Addisons set us up; you wouldn't take Karen's word for it that we would like each other. I thought I was never going to meet you."
My heart swelled with love, and I laughed at myself. "Karen was right," I said. "My rules were crazy."
"You're not mad?" she asked.
"Are you kidding?" I said. "I'm impressed. I've got only one rule for blind dating now."
She gave me a strange look. "What's that?"
"Never again," I said and kissed her.
We were married seven months later.
Susan and I are convinced that we are true soul mates. When I was fifteen and praying for my future wife, she was fourteen and praying for her future husband.
After we had been married a couple of months, Susan said to me, "Do you want to hear something really strange?"
"Sure," I said. "I love to hear strange things."
"Well, about ten months ago, before I'd met you, my friends and I were at this Chinese restaurant, and…" She pulled a slip of paper from a fortune cookie out of her wallet:
"You will be married within a year…."