o you believe in Fate? Destiny? Humans, in their need to control and dominate, for the most part, find it hard to believe the true extent of control Fate has over us. Life is never what you expect. You may think you know what will happen, but life isn't a soap opera where you can predict who dies and how things will work out without even thinking about it. Destiny is real and your true friends are the ones whose fates are so tightly entwined with yours that there is no way to tell where your life begins and their ends.
But sometimes, the choices you make along the way throw Fate off a little. Because Fate and Destiny do not choose your path, only your destination, and a wrong move can bring a more painful end than originally planned.
Fate is not corporeal; it is more a presence than a physical entity, as is Destiny. They, without any discernible human emotions, decide who meets whom and when, and what effect each person has on another.
The only choices available for us, as humans, to make are when and how we get to the milestones already set out for us. Whatever decisions we make along the way will change how we get to our destinations, but the end result will be the same, though sometimes more painful than initially intended.
Who am I, you ask, to be telling you this?
The more important question is who are you? Ignorant mortal that you are, where do you fit in? You're only human, and hate the idea of not being in control. Why am I making you hear all this?
There's a simple answer to that, as there is to everything if you bother to look for it.
Before I can even begin to explain who I am, you must understand something. I cannot tell you all the answers. I can only tell you the facts, do with them what you will.
I took life for granted too; I took free will as a right, something that was guaranteed to me. I thought I was in charge of my own Destiny, of my ultimate Fate. But I wasn't. You're not.
It was Fate that brought Draike into my life. Even now, I can't remember how Draike and I met. I don't recall a happy time in my life when he wasn't there. Always laughing and smiling because Draike, to those who are condemned to the place we jokingly call a high school, needs no introduction. He fit in anywhere and everywhere; he got along with everyone. There was not a soul who could honestly say they disliked him, because he had that sort of charismatic personality. He had more charm than I ever had, that's for sure. Besides being ever-so-popular, Draike was my best friend, and the only person in the world who really knew me. There was not a day that went by that I didn't wonder why he bothered with someone as messed up as I was, not a minute that I wasn't grateful for him.
But I digress. Whatever twists of Fate brought us together, another more painful kink tore us apart. I suppose it would be easy for me to blame Fate and Destiny for the end of my and Draike's friendship, but it doesn't work that way. The end of the story would ultimately have been the same, but maybe I could have given Draike some peace of mind, if only...
Not by any fault of his own - although I did tease him about it - Draike's popularity kept him from me for a good majority of whatever free time he had. There was always someone, somewhere to take his attention away from me and whatever problem I was struggling with at the moment, whether it be my pitiful grades, my idiotic classmates, or another of my various insecurities.
I don't even remember why I so desperately needed to talk to him that day; it was something that had me near tears, I think. Whatever it was, I needed Draike, as I always did whenever anything - good or bad - happened to me.
In my defense, I was already upset and never had been good at controlling my temper. Any other day I would have let it slide, but that day, when Draike turned away in the middle of my ranting to talk to someone else, I snapped. "Draike," I hissed, grabbing his arm and meeting his gray eyes angrily. "Do I...."
I remember he glared back at me, and turned back to his conversation. It had been one of those days, the ones that left me weary and unnerved, and I wasn't up for an argument, so I settled back to wait for his attention to turn back to me, which it inevitably would. As invisible as Draike made me feel sometimes, he was better than the rest of the school, who rarely noticed I was there. By no fault of his own, Draike just...forgot now and then.
But when a few minutes turned to ten, I began to get annoyed and decided to slink away and hide in a corner until the bus came. Without even glancing in his direction to say goodbye - I was far too annoyed with him to bother - I turned away. He grabbed my arm - something he never did. Hell, it was the first time he even noticed me sneaking away. "Hold up, okay?"
I remember shaking my head in exasperation, wanting to be far away from him and the rest of the idiots surrounding me. Little did I know that this would be the last time I would set eyes on Draike.
You think it won't happen to you or anyone you care about. You take for granted the time you have with the ones you love. Maybe that's why I'm telling you this story. To tell you that it does happen.
As I waited for the bus, that icy winter day, a car skidded towards the bus stop. Towards me. Slow, painful seconds as the black car spiraled out of control. The driver was male, and he looked as shocked as I was. If I had had any interest in cars what-so-ever, I could tell you what make of car it was too, because, cursed with good memory, I remember everything about that day. I wish I could forget, but I suppose that would mean forgetting Draike as well.
I remember a flash, white lightning, and pain beyond comprehension. Fleeing thoughts without any semblance of cohesiveness, of my family and of Draike. Layer upon layer of thoughts and feelings, underlying pain that exploded through my lower body and danced up my spine. Screaming and yelling, but it's all so faint, so far away. Pain and fear take over my mind, blanket it in a thick layer that stifles the thoughts flying through my mind. Then nothing.
Surprised? It was a normal day, not a single clue in any of this to warn you of my tragic end. That's life. Deal with it.
I suppose it doesn't matter to you what happened to Draike or my family in the end. Maybe you don't want to learn anything from this story. If I were you, the questions I'd be asking are "Where are you now?" and "How are you writing this?" Whatever I look like in your mind, picture me smiling and singing, "I'll never tell." Because that isn't the point.
The point is, I never got to tell Draike that I love him. Never got to tell him how much he meant to me. The last memory he has of me is me stalking off, angry with him for something trivial.
Fate and Destiny chose for my life to end that day, that time, that way. But it was my stupidity, ignorance and pride that caused Draike to lose me in that way, with things between us the way they were. It was me who chose not to let Draike know that he's always on my mind.
Who am I? I am one of the many who took life and love for granted. Who ignored Fate and Destiny. Remember, they don't take kindly to that.
What happened to not telling you the answers? I said that I can only give you the facts, and that the answers are yours to find if you bother to look. I lied. This is my story. I refuse to leave it up to interpretation. I don't want you to get out of it whatever you choose; I want you to learn. If you got nothing from my story, you are bound to repeat the mistakes I make, and there is nothing left for me to do for you. But if you did manage to get something, some small morsel of knowledge from my pain, then it was worth it. Because Fate and Destiny are real, the sooner you accept that, the better off you'll be.
© 2003 The Richmond Hill Public Library Board