The Fortune Cookie

Stevie ran her hands through her auburn hair and looked at the plates piled on the coffee table. She shook her head trying to clear her muddled thoughts and glanced at the unopened fortune cookies spilling out of a green plastic bowl. She didn’t believe in those things as a rule, but this morning her curiosity got the better of her.Last night everyone had bugged her about opening one, but she hadn’t. Stevie gathered up a pile of plates and took them to the kitchenette. She set the dishes on the dark blue counter and looked at the fortune cookies again. Oh, why not. She broke one open and took out the piece of paper and read. Pack up everything and move to the next country you hear spoken out-loud. These things were good for a laugh if nothing else. Her thoughts were interrupted when her chubby roommate Julie entered the room.

“What a mess. Boy, do I ever have a headache. My mouth feels like it’s full of cotton balls.” Julie poured water into the coffee pot before scooping coffee into the filter. “Amanda’s new boyfriend kept talking about  Ireland and how he missed it. Makes you wonder why he left.”

“It’s a picturesque country.” Stevie looked over the top of her black framed glasses and filled the sink with hot water inhaling the fresh lemon scent.

“Is that a fortune cookie? You opened one, after all, did you? What did it say?” Julie wrinkled her nose and scrapped the dried up food into the garbage.

“Oh just the usual,” Stevie shrugged, as she glanced over her shoulder.

Julie grabbed the piece of paper out of Stevie’s fingers before it landed in the garbage can. She gave her friend a hug after she read the little piece of paper. “Same as mine. Looks like we are both moving to Ireland.”

“Oh really. I don’t think so.” Stevie’s eyebrows knit into a frown as she thought about the dead end job at the real-estate office and how much she hated it. “I just can’t pick up and leave.”

“Look at all the genealogy research you have been doing on your Mom’s family and how you always wanted to see the country where your great grandmother grew up. Did you open that letter from Ireland?”

“No, I didn’t. I don’t know if there’s a family connection.” Stevie raised her eyebrows and set a dripping plate in the green dish rack. “Besides travelling is expensive.”

“You have longed to go for a long time,” Julie grabbed two green mugs from the cupboard. “You should open the envelope.”

“There wasn’t time  with the preparations for the party and work. I had to work overtime everyday for the past six months. I barely had time to eat, and breath let along spent time researching.” Stevie shrugged and listened to the gurgling water run down the drain.

“Well, if that isn’t a reason for taking an extended holiday I have never heard of one.” Julie poured coffee into the mugs. “Our friends are slobs. Look at the mess they left in the living room. I thought they were never going to leave. The stragglers stayed until after two a.m. Admit it you hate that job.”

“Yes, I hate it, but my parents always taught me to stick with things and not quit on a whim. They wouldn’t be impressed.” Stevie put green and white plates in the white cupboard. “Just up and moving seems like an impulsive thing to do.”

“When is the last time you had any fun?” Julie asked as she sipped her coffee. “Where did you put the letter?”

“On my desk.”

“I’ll get it for you. Open it and quit wondering.” Julie said. “Sit and drink you coffee before it gets cold.”

Stevie tapped the brown envelope on the grey table as she sipped her coffee. “All right here goes.” There was the sound of ripping paper as she slid a knife in the top. Look at the pictures of the women in the group photo. They look a lot like Mom, Grandmother and me. Isn’t that a little eerie. It looks like we are distant cousins. Ella Sullivan has invited me to come and visit for as long as I want.”

“Well, maybe that fortune cookie was right after all. You have that excited look in your eyes that I haven’t seen for a long time. Maybe you could even take me with you,” Julie said. “Neither of us have anything of any value. You could store everything at your parent’s place.”

“Let’s do it. Make a list of everything we need to do. Like passports, etc. I could live on my savings for a year if I live frugally. Let’s do this.” Stevie fanned herself with the envelope and grinned broadly. She cradled her mug in her hands and looked around the apartment as a plan started to form. Stevie wanted to meet her distant relatives. It was something she had planned and saved for. It wasn’t an impulsive whim after all.








About mhembroff

I am the author of Bess's Magical Garden, a middle grade novel, The Mystery of the Hidden cabin which is the sequel to Bess's Magical Garden and picture book Gramma Mouse Tells a Story. I am the member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, Writers Guild of Alberta. My series The Ghostly Encounters and other short stories can be found on, listed in the short story section. I have been an avid reader since early childhood and has always been imaginative. It wasn't until my children were growing up that I started taking writing classes and put my creations onto paper. When I'm not writing I like to paint, draw, work in the garden and spend time with my pets and family.
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