She hadn’t bitten her nails in months. But today her fingers were raw and red from where she had been gnawing at them all day. Blood red nail polish now chipped and cracked, the aftermath strewn across her desk, reminded her of a war scene. And she had to stifle a bitter laugh at the irony of it. Her foot was tapping vigorously under her desk and she was incessantly glancing up at the clock, willing it to move forward. Everything was so loud. She could hear the ticking of the clock clearly, although the rain was pounding down fast and hard on the aluminum roof. Every raindrop resonating like cymbals and syncopating with the drumming beat of her heavy heart.
She was restless. Fighting desperately to stay calm but her ravaged breaths and sweaty palms betrayed her. Everyone around her was busily hacking away at their keyboards as which each tick of the clock, they were growing closer and closer to their impending deadlines. But try as she might, the more she tried to focus on the screen in front of her, the more the characters seemed to leap and dance before her blurry eyes and she found herself blinking rapidly to prevent the hot tears from rolling down her face.
She had to fight, will herself to retain her composure. They couldn’t find out. Nobody could know about the secret she had been harboring deep inside her soul. So far, it had gone really well. Living alone had meant she could spend endless hours imagining how her future was drastically about to change. She hadn’t seen her family in months and had kept them from visiting by maintaining her routine of calling them bi-weekly. Her friends were too preoccupied with their own busy work schedules and lives. So it had been easy to keep them out of the loop as well. If anyone had to have known her secret, it would have been them. Not these, mere acquaintances she was only recently familiarizing herself with.
She couldn’t trust them, she couldn’t trust anybody. If her own life was anything to go by, she knew that people that kept up strictly scheduled lives, working tirelessly in 9-5 occupations, were the ones that owned the deepest secrets. Keeping up appearances with fake smiles and hearty hellos in the hallways, Playing their cards well and maintaining prim and proper poker faces, they acted like they were pawns in the game. Making simple, easy and routine passes to protect others’ empires, when in actual fact, they were the ones that were holding aces. If they knew her secret, what would they think of her?
No. If reading Macbeth had taught her anything, it was that there were “daggers in mens’ smiles”. She couldn’t trust them, she resolved. And for what seemed like the 100th time that day, she got up from her seat, smiled sweetly at the few that glanced her way, and made her way to the powder room at the end of the hall.
Once behind the closed doors however, she removed the coat from her back in one swift sweep, along with the façade she had been keeping up all day, and collapsed in a heap on the floor. Allowing the fountain of tears that stemmed from her soul to finally spill over. Her despairing breath came in short, quick gasps as she clutched her swollen belly in her war torn hands. Without a shadow of a doubt, she knew in that moment, that this was the day her life was about to change.
Her momentary relief was short lived. Not wanting suspicion to arise over her prolonged bathroom break, she quickly gathered herself up and surveyed her image in the broken mirror hanging over the sink. Strands of her hair were plastered to her forehead, her cheeks had slight streak marks from where the perspiration had fallen, and her lips were noticeably dry. With limited resources however, all she could do was splash her face with the ice-cold, rust-tinged water from the tap onto her face. And then after a slight hesitation, threw out her “bottled water only” policy out the window and gulped down handfuls of the tap water in an attempt to quench her parched soul. Satisfied, she made her way back to her desk and, ignoring the pangs in her belly, attempted to finish her work for the day.
Finally, after what seemed like eons had passed, it was time for her to leave. She tarried not, grabbing her bag, she charged out of the door, as fast as her swollen feet could carry her. She didn’t feel safe. Gripped with a chilling fear and paranoia that had nothing to do with the icy night air that had hit her full on in her face the minute she stepped outside, she clenched her coat tightly, as though her own skin was inadequate to hold her together, and stormed through the gate into the dark and stormy night.
The moon was nowhere to be seen and there were no stars twinkling in the black sky. Perhaps they too had sensed the impending doom and had fled for safety behind the thick curtain of dismal clouds? She had lived here long enough to know that there was little to no crime in this small town, and by all reasonable standards, it was deemed safe. So she wondered why she felt so uneasy. The shadows were alive and taunting, stretching their long tendrils towards her in a demonic manner. Threatening to snatch away her precious gift. The wind was howling, accompanied by the cries of stray dogs that roamed the lonely streets. She was terrified. Even as she burst through the front door of little public clinic at the end of the street and breathed a sigh of relief. Safe.
As she saw the nurse’s familiar face, and felt her warm soothing hand guiding her to the waiting room, after handing her a plastic cup of tepid water, she brushed aside her crazy notions and felt grateful that she was surrounded by people that would care for her and support her. So she willingly allowed herself to be wheeled in to the delivery room to face the moment she had been awaiting for the past nine months.
But, as she observed the nurse consulting the doctor through the blinds, she couldn’t help but feel insecure and uneasy about the look she saw in his eyes. She would have thought that a doctor’s eyes would be calm and kind, but what she saw in his was far from it. Rather, she saw greed. She saw a covetous look as though he was about to rob her of her future. She noted with mounting panic, that the door was locked. Why was the door locked?
She knew that somehow, she would have to get out of there. The contractions were coming much faster now and she could feel the pressure straining every part of her body. Knowing that if she delivered in this place, she would have her future snatched from her grasp. And knowing full well that she had no time left, she made her way to the door and tapped gently.
The doctor looked up, and upon noticing her, made his way towards her.
And as she looked up into his face and asked for directions to the payphone, she confirmed her earlier suspicions to be true. She could have missed it, it was very easy to miss. Because he covered it up well. She imagined that countless others had fallen for his wit and charm before. But not her, Because she had the Voice, encouraging her, guiding her. He smiled but she knew. She knew that if she didn’t go now, she would risk having her little dream taken away against her will. If she birthed her desires into this foul environment, they would not be given the chance to grow and thrive and achieve their full potentials. They would be abused and she would have no claim to them in any way.
As she headed towards the direction he had pointed out, she began to notice all the things that were wrong that she had somehow missed before. The already dim lights were flickering, giving off an eerie buzz as they did so. There was a strong, overpowering smell of bleach in the air and there was noise, so much noise. Thankfully, the foyer was crowded and chaotic. She had been leaning against the wall as she had staggered towards it. But now, as the exit came into clear sight, she heaved off it and made a bee-line for the door.
Once outside, she felt a sudden rush of adrenaline and broke into a run, not stopping once to look back. With a sinking feeling, she realized that the din in the hall had not been caused by the commotion in the foyer, no. It had been the sound of crying. Wailing. The mournful sound of the ones that had lost their dreams. She refused to be one of them and pressed on though she didn’t know where she was heading. The asphalt was burning into her bare feet and the thunder rumbled. A streak of lightning flashed across the skies, illuminating the night for a split second before plunging it into darkness once more.
Her circumstances were dire, but yet, she didn’t find herself slowing nor stopping. She could barely feel the stinging pain in her feet anymore, concluding that they had been numbed senseless. She had almost forgotten that she was in labor and she found her surroundings were beginning to look familiar. Another flash of light confirmed that indeed, the tall tree in her path was the very one that stood in the corner of her garden.
As she rounded the corner, she was almost blinded by the light flooding from all over her house. It was streaming through the windows and pouring across the lawn. She ran towards it, allowing herself to be welcomed into its beautiful warmth. There in the light, she was able to see what a mess she really was. Her haggard appearance was in no way a reflection of the woman that had left earlier that morning. Knowing now that this was where she was meant to be, she let out a guttural cry as she let out all the intense feelings and pent up emotions she had been storing for months. In the light, she was safe. She had comfort and felt peace. The light was symbolic of all things good. The light was the standard by which she measured all aspects of her life. And by far, everything fell short. Her job, her feelings, even her so called protectors that had no other agenda than to see her fail.
It all came down to this. In the face of adversity, in the heat of the moment. When there was nobody else looking, and where it came down to her realizing her full potential. Would she be able to push?
Could she push through the pain, the mocking glances of those that thought she could never amount to anything? Could she push past her own limits and past the barriers set by public expectations…what other people would think? Could she push to the point that her biggest dreams and deepest desires were birthed and nurtured to the point that they flourished and grew despite the stumbling blocks that lay before her? Could she manage to do this all by not trusting her soul with man but by trusting in the Light?
Determination plastered across her face, she couldn’t help but smile as she realized that with the supernatural strength she felt, she could be able to do anything. And she would. With everything she had within her…she pushed.
The time had come, the point of no return. She pushed long and hard and finally, after a long moment passed, she heard the cries of a newborn. The fresh new life of a new dream, the direction of her life that had been birthed in the midst of turmoil. And as she cradled the infant in her arms lovingly, she knew the name it would bear, a name so fitting it spoke of the future, of promise and of light. A name clothed in hope, bathed in faith, and led by righteousness. And that name, was Destiny.