The Shy Man and the Fortune Cookie
He was in his late twenties, lonely and awkward. Love had failed him after several attempts at dating women.
His right eye had a nervous twitch.
After finishing college, he decided to move to a small town near where the college was located. He did not want to make a big change in his life.
He found a small sparsely furnished apartment on the second floor above a mattress store in the downtown area.
It was a chilly evening as he walked down the street to find something to eat.
He discovered a small Chinese restaurant not far from his apartment. He wanted to be alone, to keep to himself as he always did.
He sat at a booth in the back corner where he could keep an eye on everybody in the restaurant.
A cute waitress took an order at another table, then came over to him, smiled an unusual smile, and said, “Welcome to the house of Delights.”
Shyly he smiled back, his eye twitching and his mind racing, wondering why she had said that. He remembered the name on the outside said, Wong’s Chinese Garden.
She looked to be in her twenties, beautiful cheek dimples, slender, and most attractive with flowing hair that was long and black. A streak of bright red hair flowed down the middle of her back.
She asked him what he would like to drink. He told her he would like hot black tea.
“How hot what would you like it?’ she teased, then turned to go for the tea.
When she returned, she smiled again and poured his tea. “I have not seen you here before, are you new to the neighborhood?”
“Yes, I just moved into an apartment near here.”
“ I rent an apartment upstairs above the restaurant,” she said, and then smiled again. This time, she stared at him for a long few seconds, then asked for his order.
“What do you recommend?”
She asked him if she could look at the palm of his hand.
He turned it over and she gazed at it for a few seconds, Then said,
“I have the perfect meal for you. One that you will remember.”
Eye twitching, his head spinning. He knew people thought of him as a nerd, but is this what she thought too, or was she just being sweet to him, and if so, why?
He sipped his tea as he waited for his meal.
First, she brought him Hot and Sour Soup, and Honey Walnut Dumplings.
Next was a platter of fried Chinese green beans with dipping sauce,
followed by Crisp Orange Beef Delight with brown rice and a Spring Roll.
“I read your hand and this is what I would give you to eat if you were my man,” she said, smiling and sashayed back to the kitchen.
“What does she mean by “my man,” he thought to himself, his face blushed bright red. Is this my lucky day? No woman has ever treated me like this. I wonder what my fortune cookie reading will say?
It seemed a long time before she returned. His eye twitching, he started thinking, “I might not see her again. Perhaps she has vanished! Perhaps this is all a dream.”
Suddenly, she appeared and apologized for having been gone so long. “I had to run upstairs to feed my cat, she gets very lonely for me when I am gone so I took time to pet my little kitty.”
“Oh, that is okay, I was just a little concerned that something had happened to you.”
“That is so very-very sweet of you,” she said and bent over and gave him a kiss on his cheek, bringing her body very close to him.
He started sweating profusely. “This cannot be happening to me!” his mind about to explode.
She backed away and said she had one more thing to bring to complete his meal.
She left and was gone for what seemed an eternity. He fidgeted his tea with the spoon, then he heard some noise from the kitchen and she glided in.
She brought a platter with a large Fortune Cookie in a small bowl surrounded by yellow and orange Nasturtium flowers floating in water. It was beautiful. The cookie looked homemade.
“I hope your dinner was lovely and it has brought you great joy,” she said, then turned and walked briskly away. No smile as before.
He was dumbfounded! He did not want her to leave. Would he ever see her again? Was this just a show that she had put on for him? Thoughts abounded, stretching his mind.
Finally, he settled down, his eye calmed to a slow flutter and he broke open the Fortune Cookie.
Inside was a handwritten note that said, “For your final delight, come upstairs to Apartment 13, tonight at 11:55 and push the doorbell twice.
He nervously walked back in the chilly autumn air to his apartment wondering why she wanted him to come at almost midnight. Was this a test to show he was really interested in her? Was it a set-up to get him to her apartment to torture him?
He tried watching TV to help pass the time until 11:45, but he could not concentrate on the program. He walked over to look out of his window as he tried to pass the time. Nothing was working; it was as though time stood still. A few cars passed slowly on the street below. Time was dragging like a slug through molasses.
He watched the clock on the wall slowly, tick, tick, tick until it was 11:45, and finally time to go. He put on his coat and headed out.
He climbed the old back wooden stairway until he came to Apartment # 13.
Sweat running down his neck; he wondered if this was truly going to be his lucky night, or if she was going to rob him, or possibly do even worse.
His trembling finger pushed the doorbell twice and he waited.