I recall a few times when she had symptoms she would ask me about. What would I suggest about a black spot in her vision, she asked. I thought she meant she had a floater.
What were the bumps in her neck? I thought she had swollen glands because of a throat infection. Why was she coughing all the time? Asthma, I suggested.
Apparently it was all part of her cancer. I figured that out later. There were other things, too. If I had only known!
She expressed her distress that I had moved five hundred miles away, and I missed her sorely. It would have been so much better had I stayed. Seeing her in person, I would have known sooner. She wouldn't have been able to hide it from me. It would have been obvious.
As it was, I had traveled down to visit her. We sat around the table after dinner when she asked me to read her palm. I hadn't done that for years, and begged off.
But, her husband jumped in and insisted. In fact, he demanded I read his palm first. I was quite surprised at Bob's insistence and I felt a little uncomfortable. I thought those "talents" had gone to rest.
Just for fun, I had taken up palm reading as a teen when I found a book on the subject that had belonged to my grandmother, "How to Tell Fortunes".
It had other methods besides palm reading in it. But, that was what resonated with me. I did it for fun until the readings started to be more seriously accurate.
"Oh, your palm reveals you have eight marriages!" I laughed, but the man across from me stared with mouth open. "How did you know that? No one knows about that!" But, when I accurately predicted the demise of someone, I refused to do any more fortune telling. Certain signs suggest the worst, and I didn't want to see such things.
By the time Linda and Bob were pressing me to read their palms, I had no qualms to keep me from playing along with them.
I must admit, however, that I stuck to the original protocol of observations I had learned, shapes of fingers and hand, how the mounds are formed and the measurement of lines as indicators for translation.
Bob stuck his hand in front of me. I asked to see both, as that was how I learned. One hand for your destiny and the other to see if you live your fate, or change it. I knew Bob had already been married before so I wasn't surprised to see two marriage lines, but I was curious to see the third marriage indicated.
I remembered that Linda only had one marriage line. So, I casually said, "After Linda dies, you will marry again." And to make a joke, I added, "Sorry about that Linda!"
But no one laughed. In fact Bob got an odd look on his face, and frowned at Linda. "What did you tell her?"
Her face was pale and eyes wide open, "Look at mine, tell me what mine says. Maybe it changed!" By this time I was really uncomfortable and tried to beg off from further prognostications.
She would face a very tragic episode in her life within a very short time. Of course, I told her no such thing.
But, once Linda sent her out to play, she and Bob plied me for what I saw. Why I didn't just make something up, I will never know.
When I learned from Grandma's book, it seemed the ethics of a respectable palm reader were ingrained in my mind as much as the meanings of the symbols. Integrity was my excuse. I could only hem and haw, with maybes and perhaps's and I'm not sure, but's.
It was pretty clear to me. But, Bob's next marriage and the tragedy in Andrea's future was to be the loss of my very dear friend.
It's odd how I totally blocked that memory until I read about it in my diary a few years after Linda died.
Linda Duran Watkins
Nov 1949 - Nov 1982