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  You could have a big dipper   

The Fool by Sinéad Delaney

I have far too many palm lines. I couldn’t even count them all because, on top of being numerous, they can’t decide where they begin and end. They keep crashing into each other and I’d only end up lost. They’re strangely uniform in places, with innumerable parallel lines crossing over long crooked lines, making hundreds and hundreds of crosses and squares. Under my middle finger, is a deep misshapen star, straggling onto three vertical lines. It’s deeper than the other markings.

My friend tried to read my palm and she couldn’t find any of the things she had taught herself to look for. I asked what does it mean, that my palm is so full of lines.

“It just means you’ll have an interesting life,” she said.

I am thirty and so far, there have been no shipwrecks, no quicksand, and no swashbuckling pirates. I studied science and then, became an accountant. I love books and I write stories. Boom. Pow. The End. I’ve had betrayals, passing without assassination. Not even a shoot-out. No epic love stories. No avengements.

One theme that has been running throughout my life, is a lack of settling. I’m constantly pushing forward, but often facing different directions.

My mother would say “Our Sinéad is a force to be reckoned with.”

She thinks anyone who has ever underestimated me has regretted it. I’m not sure she’s right. Not because they shouldn’t, but because people believe all kinds of things, sometimes, things that don’t even make sense. My Dad says that some people are too stupid to realise they’re idiots. I’m lucky then because I accepted my idiocy quite young.

I remember walking past a man that bullied me in school when we were teenagers. I waved at him out of politeness, and he ignored me. He had his nose in the air and a smug smile on his face. I found it pathetic. He was in his thirties but not really. Mentally, he was still outside Woodwork, telling one of the shy girls without brothers, they were ugly or stupid. I remember thinking, I’m glad I know I’m an idiot, or I’d be marching through Tesco with my nose high, having people pity me. Whichever way I’m pushing, at least I haven’t stayed still.

I have too much grit. If I don’t settle, the opportunities won’t reduce, so I just push forward, always. I see myself as a mountain goat, climbing up even though rocks are falling under my hooves. I am aware though that romantically, no one wants a mountain goat. Unless they take the mountain goat and try to make it a lap dog, and mountain goats can’t be lap dogs. They’re an entirely different animal.

I’m both independent and gentle, and people believe you are one or the other. I don’t want to be mean. I also don’t to be an appendage of someone else. I don’t want someone deciding where I go, and what I can say, planning out all my days on my behalf. It’s funny, my friends in school worried about dying alone. I worried about being erased.

I hate lad jokes because they aren’t real jokes. It always seemed to me lad jokes exist to dehumanise. Make women into caricatures so you won’t feel guilty when you attack. I don’t want this. I don’t want to have my personality invented.

Sometimes when it’s raining at night, I like to open the window a smidge, so I can hear the rain in my dreams. A few times, I dreamed druids turned me into a wolf. They left me in the woods. I galloped over logs and raced headfirst through thorns after a rabbit. When I caught it, I sank my teeth into it and tore its flesh into bits so I could eat it. Then, I howled at the moon. The dream ended with me finding the druids so they could break the spell.

I’ll be married soon. To whom, I don’t know, but that’s how it goes. We’ll probably have children too and I’ll need to stay still. No ships, no mountains, and definitely no pushing forward.

I’ll show my husband all the lines on my palms. I’ll tell him, “I think my thought lines are like my palm lines, making squares, crosses, and stars.”

He’ll sigh and get an iron to smooth them out. Then he’ll kiss me good night and tell me to focus. And I’ll cry salty tears. Because I used to have dreams about being a wolf. And eating a rabbit raw.


Sinéad Delaney (she/her) is 30 and from rural Ireland. She loves reading, languages, and writing. She also enjoys stargazing with her two dogs when cloud cover allows

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