The Weight

The old woman sits in a beach chair, ten feet away from the fruit stand
She wears an orange and yellow floral mu‘umu‘u and straw hat.
The man bagging my papayas tells me no, she’s not with him.
A breeze from the cars on Kamehameha Highway rustles the sign: “Fortunes Told.”
Hers is the face of someone who has lived, wrinkled,
but not from too much sun over a lifetime outdoors.
These were carved by thought and by emotion.
She says I can pay what I think it’s worth after she answers my question.
I say okay, and she asks what I’m most interested in knowing.
I tell her nowadays it’s health, whether I can lose all the weight my doctor warns about.
She holds out her hand; I reach for it and grasp it.
She closes her eyes, opens them.
“I think you ask this question so many times.”
I tell her that’s true; whenever I eat I ask.
“I don’t have an answer for you.”
“Is that all?” I ask.
“Yes,” she says, “unless there’s something else you want to know.”
I reach for my wallet.
She gestures that she does not want to be paid.
“So that’s my fortune then?” I ask.
“No,” she says, “I wish you good luck.”
I nod and don’t understand, resolve again I’ll lose the weight.

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