Fate

Sweat dripped from my brow. I could feel the bead make it’s way over the curvature of my face.

The barrel of the gun lay heavy on my left temple. It lay steady, with a few random jerks which betrayed some hesitation.

‘You know what brought you here.. ‘

I was quiet. Usually when they try to talk, it’s a distraction while one of their buddies clears house. But this guy was different; the way he came in , the way he walked up to the counter without even pretending to be here to do anything decent, it was just so uncan-

I felt a sharp pain on the back of my head, temporarily blinding me and knocking my head forward where it hit the side of the counter.

‘FUCK!!!’

‘Stay outta ‘yer head.’

He said that even before I had time to catch my breath.

What does this guy want? The register’s open, why doesn’t he just take the money and leave me the fuck alone?

God, I think I’m bleeding.. hope that revolver’s a prop.

‘I asked you a question.. ‘

‘W-what ?’

‘I said.. ‘, another thrust of the barrel in my face. He really likes to poke people.

‘I asked you a question.’

‘Yeah.. well I forgot.’

That was the wrong thing to say. Now he’s gonna shoot me. Shut up, statistics show that most store robberies happen without any serious threat of inju-

oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit he’s pointing that gun at me. Shitshitshitshit he has the crazy giggles. Should have never said that.. whatever I said..

‘Funny.’

‘Man, just take the money and go. I’m not gonna call the cops, I’ve got enough shit as it is, I’m trying to work two full time jobs, my college reports are getting fucked, my girlfriend says she thinks she’s gay, I can really live without someone pointing a gun at my fucking face and asking me stupid questions..’

I should just shut up.

‘Well college boy, you believe in fate?’

Shit I sniggered, ‘No, I don’t.’

‘Why’s that?’

‘Because all human action is governed by some basic laws and principals which are a fundamental part of nature. There is no free will and all of your actions are pre-decided by forces you didn’t even know existed.’

I was feeling lucky.

He was silent. I began to feel the force of the gun receding slightly from my skull.

‘And infact, space  is so huge that there are possibly an infinite amount of universes where this exact scene is happening with people who are exactly like us and have all the values that make us unique but where the outcome of events will be significantly different.’

I was feeling really lucky.

‘So somewhere out there, I pull this trigger..’

The mechanical click of the revolver, which signified an empty cylinder slot, made me involuntarily stop breathing for a few seconds. That was the closest I ever came to dying, fake gun or not.

‘Somewhere out there, there is a universe.. with an exact duplicate of you AND me, with the same circumstances and pre-disposition.. with the only difference being that in that universe, you’re dead right now.’

‘So my question to you is.. ‘

Cold steel.. left cheek…

‘Why are you still alive?’

‘I don’t know man! Fuck.. just let me go.. take all the money.. I won’t even report it to the police.. just.. go man..’

God please don’t let me cry. Not right now.

‘See, my theory is, the reason you’re alive and not dead , like some of your inter-dimensional avatars; is not because of how smart you think you are.. ‘

Shit he’s pointing that thing at me again.. fuck he’s gonna pull the trigger.. fuc-

empty.

‘..or how brave you think you can be.. ‘

Shit he’s gonna pull the trigger again. You’re dead this tim-

empty again.

‘..or how how much stuff you’ve done..’

Not again.. this guy is fucking insane..

again empty.

‘..or how important you think you’re life is gonna be..’

Here he goes again.. I don’t even think I care..

empty.

Somewhere inside me, a deep river of relief is flowing; but I can feel nothing but a sense of ‘not being’. Even these thoughts seem to be written down somewhere.

I look up. Finally see his face clearly. Old man. Never expected from the voice. Has to be around 50, maybe more. Mostly grey hair with a few prominent stripes of pure white. Wrinkles around the eyes give him a very jovial expression.

‘The reason you’re alive is..’

He points the gun to his left. The shot is loud, very loud. It shakes the rattlers on the window and a dog nearby starts a yelling contest. I don’t even notice the bullet after I see it come out from the barrel. I note it went through a bag of chips from the crumpling sound.

‘..because you can be alive.’

‘But I can be dead as well.’

‘Only you can decide that.’

And he stepped away and left. Cash is still inside the register. No real damage except a dent in the shelf and a bullet in a bag of chips.

I notice now that I don’t seem to be sweating.

I get up, pack up my bag, leave my uniform on the counter, along with my resignation scribbled on a napkin. Grab some money off the register and take the next bus outta town.

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His feet were burning. The asphalt radiated the heat back to the ground, rising the temperature for anything unlucky enough to be caught at its mercy. But unlike most of the people passing by in their hooded cars and fast motorcycles, he had been standing in the heat for the better part of 6 hours. He didn’t notice though, it seemed like a dull day. All his friends had gone to the local pond to swim and get high. But he didn’t have enough money for all that, and so was stuck scraping for change from the passing motorists.

He regretted giving his hard-earned money to his step father. He didn’t even like the man, in fact; he loathed him. If he ever got the opportunity, he thought to himself, he would stab that man twice in the heart and three times in each eye. But he really couldn’t pick a fight with him, not when he was drunk and had his knife.

He shifted his weight around, trying to give some relief to his left foot. He felt dizzy, he hadn’t eaten in days. He had used up most of his left over money to buy glue. He didn’t want to think about that now. He half stumbled and landed on the rear window of a car. The window felt cool against his cheek, and it felt like a gentle breeze had blown all across his body; he sounded a sigh even without noticing. It felt to him life time had opened up before him, like sometimes when he got really high. But this was different, it felt more rooted in something inside him.

His reverie was soon broken by the car window coming down. His face was almost stuck to it and he noticed just before his skin would get stuck in the car.

He opened his eyes to the blazing sun and found himself cursing under his breath. He looked up into the rear seat of the car with a frustrated frown.

At first it was too bright to properly see hat was inside the darkness of the car. But when he did get a proper look, he was struck there.

What caught him first was the gold.

He was poor, and so he knew the value of things, his mother had always told him how she had a gold chain which had been a family heirloom for hundreds of generations but which she had lost and couldn’t give him, and he always felt bitter that he didn’t have a single golden thing to call his own.

But this gold was different. It wasn’t ‘something’ made out of gold, the gold was on a girl’s head.

He couldn’t understand how a person’s hair could be golden, all the people he’d ever seen had black hair. Some were sick and had little hair or discolored hair. And some of the women he saw pass by in cars had a shade of gold, but it was always covered by darker hair.

But this girl had golden hair. That was the first thing that stuck him.

Then he got a look at her eyes. Everything he knew about anything disappeared at that moment.

What he saw were not eyes, they were raindrops of heaven. He could not believe how beautiful they were and how he had never seen anyone’s eyes so full of divine grace. Only god can be this beautiful, no human has the right to be this beautiful; he somehow managed to think out.

If he would have been more observant, he would have noted that she had bright blue eyes, a shade which few people around him, or really anywhere in the region, would naturally have. But all he saw were those big, beaming windows into paradise.

He then heard a voice, which he was sure could only be from this magnificent creature; and it was the most electrifying voice in the world. He couldn’t make out what was being, and even if he could it would not have registered in his mind.

But that voice was like the wind on a rainy day after a long drought. It felt like his heart had just discovered wings he never thought it had, and taken it’s first flight. He didn’t even realize what an image he made with his bulging eyes and jaw half dropped, but it’s not likely that he would have cared.

He faintly heard another voice speak something from the front of the car, but he could hardly be blamed for not paying the slightest attention to that husky, annoyed voice. His ears were still alight with the sound of this angel looking straight at him.

It would be safe to assume that a lot of magical things happened to this young boy on this day, standing out in the heat of the city, staring into a car. But fate had more surprises for our protagonist. He was busy drinking drom the depths of theose blue eyes when he heard the most breathtaking sound in the world. It had a faint resemblence to something of a human laugh, but it was much too heavenly to be coming from any human.

He felt his heart stop, as if it was getting ready to jump out of his chest.

His eyes quickly searched for the source of this wonderful and magical sound, and they found a pair of light pink petals which looked like lips.

If people’s hearts had a color, that would be it. If there was anything that would make all the pain and anguish in the world meaningful, he was standing in front of it. Those petals were shaped in the most delicate of smiles. No image of God was ever as sweet as this, this was something more holy than images.

If these lips speak, people are healed; if these lips laugh, then the rain falls down and the whole land celebrates.

Without noticing, he let out a little laugh, and the heavenly golden-haired angel laughed back. Time stopped for him.

It felt like they had been like that for a long time, standing there and looking at each other. He had always known her, even if he could not tell you exactly which dream he must have saw her in, it felt like they had been there forever.

The car suddenly jerked into motion and swiftly moved on. He could feel his heartbeat. It was about the only thing he could feel. His stare followed the car until it became just another glimmer of sunlight hitting the road. He was in no hurry to think about what just happened, in fact he couldn’t even if he tried. All his senses were too busy replaying the golden hair, the blue eyes and the pink lips over and over. He couldn’t even put the parts together to make a complete face, no effort on his part could match what he had just saw.

He stayed there the whole night, partly to reminisce, but mostly because he hadn’t earned enough and he didn’t want his step father beating him up for no reason. He managed to gather up a little cash from some generous motorists, and first thing in the morning made it a point to buy some more glue.

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My dog always tells me to be humble. You should see his eyes, always on the verge of crying. He would cry, I think, if he didn’t already know that no one would notice. It’s amazing what assumptions can do for you. But he’ll just look at me. He does it all the time, I like to think that he knows I understand. Truly understanding someone is more rewarding than being understood. But then, I don’t know what being understood feels like.

Anyways, my dog has this look that always reminds me to be humble. I need that. We all need to be reminded of our humility. But most people get this confused with criticism and rejection. The fires that rejection stirs in people’s bellies can only be quenched by ambitions of stars. At moments when I’m so high that I stand on the edge of falling, it’s my dog who reminds me that I never left the ground.

It’s hard for people to really get, because most people wouldn’t think about these things too much. For those of us unfortunate enough to be aware of our attachments, reality sings in strange melodies indeed.

It’s weird (to put it in an understandable context) to see someone you have seen grow up and grown up with near the end, whatever that end may mean. It’s kinda hard to put it, but it’s like watching a part of yourself go. A part that always lived in them, which only you could see. It’s always hard to see another being suffer, specially when it’s seen you suffer in it’s part.

For his part, my dog has been my sole confidant for most of my life. So I put a lot of myself into him. I never really thought much about change and growth, I was blindly following my own storm clouds. It was my dog who ran on behind me; even when I would scream, when I would hit him, when I would yell at him to leave me alone.

I’d lie if I said I never thought it would last forever. But then, forever was ’till the next time I fell asleep. Now I don’t sleep.

Sometimes I still thinks he needs me. When I look into his big, green eyes; I like to think that this creature needs my awareness to be aware of his own place in nature, his own worth. That’s what it all comes down to, anyways. Seeing something reflected in another human being which you never thought was possible. Something you kept hidden inside like a locked child you were afraid of, being reflected in another. Humans consider these occurrences to be of the highest importance in their lives.

I for one, do not put too many assumptions on myself. I remember to tuck in my dog after he comes to me with his droopy eyes, and I pray to whatever power listens to not let me go chasing storms and finally get to see how a sunflower kisses the sun.

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