Once, my palm mapped only a few, distinct courses. The lines showed clarity; the spaces showed youth. I remember because at ten I studied palmistry the way a future engineer studies suspension bridges. Time, I suppose, had a hold of me even then.
Today, my hand is littered with pink lines blown in random directions, the sign of a nervous personality. Someone who worries. Is this change nothing more than decades of repetitive hand movement? Perhaps. But as the years pass, I can't help but think there is a glimmer of truth to this transformation. Yes, life inevitably hands us more responsibilities and greater burdens and takes us to unimaginable emotional extremes, all with the potential to transform that map. But for me, someone who plans incessantly, calculates all choices and weighs them against potential outcomes, considers and reconsiders every angle, I have forgotten I was once acquainted with the spaces between all those lines.
To say it is because I am a woman is narrow-sighted. Men worry, too. Maybe not to the extent or in as much technicolor, but burdens know no gender. To say it is because living in the city introduces more stressors doesn't hold, either. Cars still break down. Taxes still saddle rural roads. Family members still say goodbye. To say it is because I am blessed with many who depend on me pales in comparison to the person who worries alone.
When I look back at all the times where senseless worry tainted life's experiences, I'm saddened. I wish I could send a message back. Transcribe it into one succinct, pink line for my ten-year-old self to discover so that it would remain like a touch point whenever I needed it. Instead of worry lines etched at the eyes and brow, this new pink line would be called the don't worry line, appropriately placed equidistant from the head line that structures decisions and the heart line that guides them. Translated, it would be this: Stop letting worry taint this day. You'll be fine. It will all turn out for the best.
Ever present, I would have glanced at it the night I wanted to throw up when I realized my first kiss was someone's joke. I would have found it when I was ten thousand miles away from home and couldn't find a way back. I would have touched it when I heard the word "cancer". A thousand times between then and now, I would have known its power to help me find space again.
Today, I christened one. Ironically, near my fate line, it trails from my wrist like a kite string. It's strong and deep and pink with life. I never learned enough at ten to know its true meaning, but I've attached my own interpretation. It will still be there when I am ninety-two, but this time, and a thousand other times between then and now, it will say, "Stop letting worry taint this day. You'll be fine. It will all turn out for the best."
What do you think of palmistry? Did you find your don't worry line?