My name is Destiny. There is nothing special about me. My older sister, Antia, is beautiful. People constantly talk about how pretty she is. She has won every beauty contest she's ever been a part of and her picture is in several magazines. There are modeling agencies fighting over the privilege of having her as their client.
My younger brother, Tye, is a genius at the age 13. He completely skipped the sixth grade. They have not made a standardized test yet that he can not pass with one hundred percent in record time. The kid already has companies offering to pay for his college education if he will agree to work for them after he graduates. How do I compete with that? It's simple, I can't!
My mom and I were home alone one day. I went into the room where she was watching television and blurted out,
“Mom, is there anything special about me?”
She thought about it for a moment then muted the volume on the T.V. My heart beat fast in my chest. My mom does not turn down the television unless it is serious. 'This is it,' I thought to myself. 'This is where I learn that there is some secret concerning me that no one wants me to know. Something that could over shadow my sister's looks or out shine my brother's genius!'
My mother motioned for me to sit down beside her. She took a deep breath, took my hand and exhaled.
“You have the ability to say just the right thing at just the right time.”
I stared at my mom, blinking my eyes to hold back the on coming flood.
“Really! Is that it, words?” I brought my hands to my face and massaged my temples. I tried to keep my voice steady but I could hear the inflection even as I fought to control it. “I have a sister whose drop dead gorgeous, a brother whose a freaking genius, and even a best friend whose one Olympic trial away from being declared the fastest woman in the world. And the only thing I have going for me are words?”
“It's more than words, Destiny,” my mom said as she took my hands and cupped my chin prompting me to look at her. “I never told you this but when you were four years old, my mother was in a nursing home. I got a call one day telling me that she was having another one of her episodes. She didn't recognize anyone or know where she was. She was yelling at the staff and wouldn't let anyone get near her. When we got there, she did not know who we were but you weren't afraid. You walked over to her and took her by the hand. In a calm, soothing but firm voice you said, 'It's alright, Nanna. I'm here now.' Then you led here to a chair where she sat quietly holding your hand until we left. She didn't have another episode from that day until the day she died.”
I know my mother meant well but I felt worse than ever. I was able to make it to my bedroom before I burst into tears. Why was I even born? What was the point of me? I was just taking up valuable space and breathing air that someone else could use. There was only one thing for me to do.
Several week ago, my mom had oral surgery. The doctor gave her hydrocodone for pain. My mom hates to take medication and choose to tough it out instead. She still had the bottle of pills tucked away in a drawer. A few of those and all my troubles would be over.
I slipped into Mom's room and found the bottle of pills. I took a few out and replaced the bottle, then went into the bathroom where I filled a glass with water. Back in my own room, I looked at the four pills in my hand. 'This is me making the world a better place,' I said to myself with what I considered to be conviction.
The pills were large and impossible to swallow all at once. I took them one at a time. The first one hurt as it went down my throat. I swallowed more water when taking the second one so it went down more smoothly When I brought my hand to my mouth to take the third pill, the fourth pill fell from my hand onto the floor. I looked for it but did not find it. It must have rolled under the bed. It didn't matter. I was small so three pills should be enough to do the trick. I swallowed the third pill.
I wasn't sure what to do next. Do I stand here and wait to fall to the floor? That might take a while. I might as well be comfortable while I waited to die. I lay down on my bed pulling the covers up to my arm pits with my arms on top of the covers. The inside of my head started spinning. I felt myself drifting. In a sudden moment of panic, I realized that I forgot to leave a note. There's always a suicide note! 'Oh well,' I thought to myself as I gave in to the feeling of euphoria that was slowly overtaking me. 'They'll figure it out...I wonder who will find me?'
Then I found myself in a garden surrounded by flowers bathed in sunlight. I was not alone but this did not surprise me. A few feet in front of me and standing on ground higher than where I stood was a woman bathed in sunlight like the flowers around us. I though at first I must be imagining her but than she spoke. Her voice flowed like the steady running waters of a gentle stream. The sound of it was soothing to my ears and comforting to my soul.
“You shouldn't be here,” she said.
“I had to leave where I was,” I confessed. “I don't fit in,”
“You are not meant to fit in.”
“But I'm surrounded by people who have so much talent, with so much to offer and I have nothing!”
“You have a gift, Destiny.” She spoke with such gentle command. I felt drawn her presence.
“My mom says I have words but I can't do anything meaningful with that.”
“A gift that is not used is of no use to anyone.”
As she spoke I realized that her lips did move. With all her speaking her mouth never opened. This did not frighten me. Nothing about this person was intimidating but I wanted to know more about her.
“Who are you?” I finally asked. This time her lips parted as though she where about to speak but the spoken words came from my mouth. It was as though someone else were speaking through me. I did not recognize the sound of my own voice. “I am your voice,” I heard myself say. “Use me.” The beautiful woman standing in front of me slowly bowed her head, spread her arms and faded away right before my eyes.
My eyes opened. I sat straight up in my bed. The room was dark. It was obvious that I was not dead but how long had I been asleep? All of a sudden my head started spinning and my stomach churned. I bolted from the bed and ran to the bathroom where I knelled before the alter and offered up my guts as a sacrifice. After rinsing my mouth and washing my face I returned to my room to ponder the strange dream I'd had. Nothing about it made any sense so I lay down and sleep till morning.
The next day is when my whole live changed. I went to school as usual but my best friend Sherri wasn't there so I had no one to talk to. I noticed Darwin sitting across the room which is strange because no one ever notices Darwin. He's smart, not as smart as my younger brother but smart. I don't know if it's because he thinks he's better than everyone else or because he thinks he's not as good as everyone else, but he stays to himself. In fact, the only time anyone knows Darwin is in the room is when some of the other kids are picking at him and that happens often. Sometimes it's just verbal insults and threats but sometimes it gets physical when bullies shove him back and forth from one to the other or take something from him and throw it from one to the other over his head. No one was bothering Darwin at that moment. The bullies weren't showing any interest in him at all. The thing that caught my attention was his jacket. It was a nice jacket but the temperature outside was 96 degrees and the air conditioner in the classroom was not working. I also noticed that he didn't take his hand out of his pocket.
The bell rang and the last of the kids hanging outside in the hall dragged themselves into the classroom. From that moment everything appeared to happen in slow motion. Darwin stood up and brought his right hand holding a gun out of his jacket pocket. Pointing it at the substitute teacher at the front of the room he yelled,
“Close the door!”
She quickly complied holding her hands over her head without being asked. Darwin pointed the gun at his classmates.
“Everyone against the wall,” he ordered pointing the gun in the direction of the wall opposite him. “On the floor!”
I did not move. I could hear screaming and crying but the sounds seemed distant as I focused my full attention on Darwin six feet in front of me. My heart beat rapidly. I deliberately slowed my breathing and I felt my heart rate slow down. I felt the words swell up in me like a brewing storm that would not be held back.
“Darwin,” I heard myself say with a calm, steady voice.
He turned his attention on me as if seeing me for the first time. He blinked as if uncertain.
“Are you deaf,” he said pointing the gun directly at my head. “I said get on the floor by the wall?”
“Yes, I will,” I calmly replied. “But I'd like to talk with you first.”
Darwin looked at me as though he thought I was not right in the head but he didn't shoot me.
“Go ahead and say what you have to say!” He swept the gun from me to the group of kids lined up behind me and back to me again.
The words came automatically. I didn't think about what I was going to say I just let the words come out.
“I feel totally invisible sometimes. Even you didn't see me standing right here in front of you. I have family and friends with so much talent and potential and I have none. There is nothing special about me.” From the counter of my eye, I could see the teacher as the inched toward her desk. Once there, she placed her hand under the desk where the button for the silent alarm was. I continued talking. “I watch you everyday in class. You are so smart. You can answer questions that the teacher hasn't even asked yet.”
My voice flowed from me with the soothing rhythm of a lullaby. Darwin blinked his eyes a few times and shook is head. I continued.
“Do you know that everyone in this class is envious of you?”
Darwin's ears perked up. He wanted to hear more.
“That's right, we all know that with graduation our glory days are over, but yours will have just begun.” His gun hand was not as stiff as it was before. I moved a step closer. “You'll probably go to a good college...” I moved a step closer. “Marry a women who is just as smart as you are...” I moved in closer. “The two of you will build a successful empire...” I had the gun.
S.W.A.T. rushed in and took Darwin away. The officer who took the gun from me shook my hand.
“That was a great job you did, Young Lady. Superman could not have done a better job than you did here today. You may have saved a lot of lives.
Can you believe that! He compared me to Superman.
Well, I work at a suicide prevention center now. There is a cork board over my desk filled with thank you cards and letters from people who say they owe their lives, careers, or their family's to my words. But to me, they are more than words...they are my super power!