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The Day I Met Destiny

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I remember the day I met Destiny. It was a Saturday, about two summers ago. It was an official street block association stoop-selling-event day, in fact. My family and I were new to the Downtown Brooklyn neighborhood, but we were fairly familiar with the concept of gathering old junk from inside the house to display out on the curb for sale. I am used to keeping very busy with reading, writing and studying almost all of the time. I was skeptical that morning to spend valuable hours sitting in front of my house to make what I knew would be a profit of about 25 cents. But my family convinced me it would be fun for us to do together, so I collected all my old clothes that no longer fit, books I’d read enough times, funny little trinkets I suspected nobody would buy, and I trekked down the stairs and set up.

Destiny was five going on six that sticky summer. I was sitting in a folding chair sort of anxiously, displaying my array of old used things when Destiny stomped on over to me with more attitude than I’d ever seen up close. She was tiny but shockingly loud, brown, four feet tall, with a bright pink pout on her face. As she fiercely tossed her long brown pony tail all around, that little girl made very sure that I well understood— she was “Destiny! Your next door neighbor!” Destiny and I made an agreement to be friends that day.

Destiny is part of a very large family next door from mine that my family refers to as “The Stoops”. Whereas perching on ones stoop for nearly the whole day is usually specific to a stoop selling event for most people in my neighborhood, for “The Stoops”, it is without a doubt, a definitely large part of every day. I’ve grown increasingly fascinated with these people since the day we moved in next door to them. I often watch them from my window on evenings when I momentarily tear myself apart from my studies. I marvel at the way they so casually relax for hours and hours just sitting on that stoop together, about ten of them at a time – mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, cousins, babies, the young, and the old.

When Destiny Stoop is not at school, she is on her stoop, or playing somewhere nearby it. Since the day we met, I have not been able to walk up the block to my front door without being hug-attacked by this sassy little girl. She races to me when she sees me coming up the block, yelling “Emily!” and jumps into my arms as if she hasn’t seen me in years, when it’s really only been a day, or even an hour. She always insists that before I head upstairs I must give a try at the hopscotch game she’s just chalked onto the sidewalk, or listen to her perform the latest song she has made up, or watch how fast she can zoom down the block on her scooter. Though I sometimes worry about wasting my precious study time, I simply cannot ever say no to her. I do as she says, and take a few minutes just to hang out. I admit this greeting I receive from Destiny and the time we spend together is honestly one of my favorite parts of every day.
Though it is hard for me to imagine myself ever being laid back as my neighbors to simply sit and hang out for hours on this chunk of soft Brooklyn concrete the way they do, the time I spend with Destiny each day, makes me feel so perfectly connected to these people and their relaxed way of life. It may have only been a few minutes each day that I have spent with her in the past few years, but this little girl has helped me to understand the true beauty of all this “stoop sitting.” I know from her, that it is not the time spent with our books, but spent leisurely with our family, friends, and neighbors, that we really do gain the most. Most of all, Destiny has truly taught me that wherever I go, it is of so much importance that I really know and understand, just who exactly my next door neighbors are.





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