Destiny

By , Kingsport, TN
The rain and wind danced together in perfect harmony: it would have been quite the sight if I wasn’t stuck in the middle of it. Because of the strong winds, the sheets of rain fell at a deep slant. I struggled to keep the hood of my coat from falling off.

I was a good ten minutes from where I lived (technically, it wasn’t a home like most people had) and I was getting more anxious with each step.

I recoiled away from him when our bodies touched. He reached out a hand to touch my shoulder, but I took another step backwards.

“I’m sorry; I wasn’t paying attention where I was going,” he said as he dropped his hand. Maybe he got the hint that I didn’t put trust in a complete stranger.

Under the streetlight, I squinted to get a better look at him. He had a know-it-all appearance that I found he sort of handsome. Under his wet mop of dark hair, I saw a pair of animated eyes. His face held a crooked smile that was full of some sort of deep compassion. Just by looking at him, I loosened up a bit and let my guard down ever so slightly.

“I’m Max.” His voice was just as calming, but I didn’t care. Some of the nicest and funniest people could be a killer in disguise; Jack the Ripper came to mind.

“I go by Lanea,” I replied, trying to think of a good excuse to leave this conversation. All I came up with was a lame excuse along the lines of, “I have to go.”

I always wondered why I was the unluckiest person I knew, especially when I had one simple request. For this Max person to leave me alone was all I asked: it wasn’t that hard of a demand.

“Oh, okay. Well, Lanae, I’ll see you later,” Max said, that sickly happy smile still placed on his face.

He’s just a desperate creep.

Needless to say, I escaped as quickly as I could. I had an all-inclusive knowledge in how to separate myself from those that made me uncomfortable.

------

I didn’t want to call the next encounters with Max to be called destiny (even I was sure something was happening between us). He seemed to know where I would be at all times, and he just happened to be there to meet me.

“Now boarding for Civic Bay,” the speaker announced over the loud voices and static. As the subway came to a stop, I pushed past the crowd, fighting my way towards the sliding doors.

I stepped out and looked around. It was deserted compared to the busy streets above. I hated being under the city; it was damp and I felt like the ceiling was going to collapse any moment.

I noted the newer graffiti that adorned every possible area as I walked towards the escalator. That’s when I saw Max talking to the man that owned the newspaper stand.

He spotted me and then walked closer to me with that grin again; furthermore, he had this sense of self-controlled ego about him.

The second time we crossed paths, he realized that my only job was on the streets, playing the guitar for passersby; the third, he tried to give me twenty-five dollars. (I wasn’t sure what he was going to try to do.)

I did know that Max wasn’t a bad person. I found out he was in a band, he used to volunteer a lot, and he had quite a bit of money to share.

He fell into step with me and began a conversation. Don’t get me wrong, I was glad for his company. My views of him changed drastically since our first encounter.

“I was thinking— you don’t have to if you don’t want to—would you like to go grab a bite to eat with me?” He asked, looking down at the ground.

I smiled at his new-found shyness. “I’d like that,” I said, nodding.

He laughed and grabbed me by the elbow. “Great! It’ll be my treat.”

I tried to keep up with his long strides; it was the least I could do because he had already lost me in his rambling. He really didn’t notice, for that I was glad, I think he only wanted someone to be there to listen to him.

He stopped talking when we reached the restaurant, and he looked nervous again. “I hope you don’t mind Italian.”

“Not at all— it’s my favorite.”

“Me, too,” he nodded slightly. I watched all of his shyness wash away.

“My cousin owns this place. It’s small, but I go here all the time. I love it, you know.” His hand scanned the setting as he spoke, allowing me to let the warm setting sink in. It had all of the cliché romantic details: warm colors, candles illuminating the tops of the small tables for two, and soft music playing.

I ate well and I loosened up even more on our self-proclaimed date. It ended all too quickly when he insisted that we left because it was getting rather late.

He smiled a wicked smile, in which I returned, as he proposed another idea… He said he knew that I really didn’t have a home to call my own and that the weather was getting worse by the moment. It was predicted to snow at least a foot over night. He said he wanted me to go to his house for the night.

I faltered at the suggestion. I meet him a little over a week ago. The first night, I compared him to famous murderers and thought he was just a freak wanting to kill me. My view of him changed; yet, I don’t think I could accept.

“I don’t think I can do that, Max.”

“I think you should. A girl like you shouldn’t be out in weather like this— you’ll get sick.”

The snowflakes were beginning to fall. I shook my head feverishly.

“You don’t trust me do you?” He asked, looking at his feet, but I saw through his disguise.

“I barely know you.” I was trying to let him down easily. For example: don’t make him angry by letting him inside my mind.

As Andrew Cunanan, serial killer, said, "People don't know me. They think they do, but they don't." I remembered the quote when I looked at Max’s aggravated expression.

He started talking to the point I saw he was on the verge of tears. He retold countless stories that meshed with the next.

I felt sorry for him, I admit.

“Okay, okay, Max. I’ll go with you, but I can’t stay for long.”

He straightened up and smiled slightly. He had quite the mood swings. “That’s fine. I just want you to be okay. It’s dangerous for a girl like you to be out on a night like this— you’ll be safe in my apartment. You can take a shower and crash on my bed while I sleep on the sofa. You can have a nice breakfast and clean clothes. I’ll take you shopping, if you like,” he said, placing an arm around my shoulder.

My ears were ringing by the end of his speech— he sounded sincere about my well-being. He couldn’t be all that horrible.

Destiny had her way of controlling my life: she helped me in a way so that I wasn’t afraid of the results when I blindly let her lead me along. I just hoped she wasn’t just an illusion.





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