“We're not allowed to touch the hand anymore,” Farra said.


“Oh?” Anna set her hand down on the velvet.


“It's a new regulation. We've had some complaints from our clients concerning our male reader's practice. But we can still point to your lines, like this!” Farra hovered her finger over Anna's palm like a metal detector seeking out gold.


“Really?” I laughed, and then looked at Anna when she didn't laugh along. She gazed past Farra's finger into her own delicate skin. Dainty wrinkles fanned from Anna's eyes. Her lips pursed. I hadn't noticed it earlier, but she looked old. We were getting older, I thought, crippling. To me, aging had been associated with a particular worry.


“Oh,” Anna said. “Huh.” She sat silent as if waiting for a more personal explanation.


“I'm sorry,” Farra said. “But the reading will be just as enjoyable, just as accurate without the interaction.”


“What about gloves?” I asked. “Can you use gloves?”


Anna shot me a laser glare.


“No gloves,” Farra said. “No physical exchange whatsoever.” She cocked her head, smiled.


I scanned the room, looking for something, a poster maybe, like the ones in my therapist's office — Five Easy Steps to Developing a Healthy Relationship with Your Palm Reader. Instead, I located a diagram: Palmistry for the Modern Age. Passion, Reason, Will — all in the span of a thumb. I located the Marriage Line. I studied my own, enigmatic and bleak. I tried to decipher how long my cheeriness would extend into the future.