Dreams of Destiny Pt. 06-11byKrenna Smart©
Destiny was driving her old, beat up, red Volvo fast along the Coastal Highway south of West Pam Beach, Florida. The hot, humid, salty air pouring in from her open window had caused another sneezing fit. Damn allergies, she thought as she opened her eyes. She felt dizzy and confused for a second. She lost her bearings. What am I doing? She puzzled. For a second there I thought... No, I haven't even started law school. She looked around. Florida? She spotted her camera, a great, new Pentax with all the trimmings. Now she remembered. The camera was a college graduation gift from her father along with the cash for a vacation road trip to Florida.
She was headed to an old amusement park that was closing up to be replaced by a bigger, better, theme park.
But for a second there, I could have sworn I was sitting in a Burger King in DC with... a cop?!, He scared me with something he said. I looked up at the ceiling and closed my eyes. The cop grabbed my wrists just as I was pulled into some kind of whirlwind. Everything was ripped apart. He held on firmly, she glanced briefly at her wrists, sure enough they were swollen and bruised, as if they had been wrung by someone very strong. She blanched at the sight.
Somehow, I think we went through the vortex together. Are we supposed to be able to go through together? God I don't know. I don't even know what the hell I'm thinking of.. I'm under pressure about all this crap with Nathan. That's all. And unsettled from graduation and getting a new job. I need a vacation. That's why I'm here. That and the possible photo shoot. So forget this crap and concentrate on having a good time.
She looked forward to taking in this park for a last time. She come here a couple of times with her father and her uncle as a little girl.
Since then, Destiny had had a fetish for old amusement parks. She loved the colors, the atmosphere, even their shabbiness. The hawkers plying their trades fascinated her and she loved having her fortune told and her cards read. There was nothing like grabbing the brass ring on the carousals and getting a free ride.
She delighted in rocking the car at the top of a rickety old Ferris wheel, and adored the smell of the old fashioned bumper cars, and the silliness of the tunnels of love and haunted houses. She excelled at ski ball and had a gallery of stuffed animals to prove it.
But the cap -- the crowning glory was always the old wooden roller coaster. She got a huge adrenaline kick wondering if the old dinosaurs were safe as they chugged their was up to the top of the first hill. Sometimes their condition was so bad the cars actually tilted on their tracks as they screamed around corners at top speed.
It wasn't that she had a death wish. But somehow the fear was more real if you wondered it the car was safe for one more trip. There was the rush of going headlong down a steep grade all right, but there was also the glow of knowing you were alive when you climbed out of the car with shaky knees after the trip. You didn't get that with the new coasters that were springing up everywhere. And she always ended up with a headache after rides on the newer models. She loved them but they just were not the same.
So Destiny had decided to make the drive from Southern Ohio to Mid-Florida for a break in routine, to immortalize the beautiful old park with her Pentax, and for a few more rides on the good old Thunder Bolt. She had a vague notion of writing a magazine article about the demise of the older amusement parks, including a photo array.
Actually, she had hoped that Nathan, her college beau of three years would come along and do the writing while she focused on the artistic angle. Nathan loved the old parks as much as she did. But their relationship had taken a sudden down spin right before graduation two weeks ago. As of three nights ago it was in what she resignedly thought of as the "crash and burn" stage.
Many of the things that had seemed so simple in College and High School were so different now. The two step dance into marriage and family were not what Destiny had in mind for herself.
To be fair, Nathan wasn't actively pushing her for those thing, but every little step they took together seemed to be aimed in that direction. And so far, Destiny had no real idea what she wanted out of life. She had planned on declaring psychology as her major but the crowds at that door had scared her off. She knew she was a great counselor but the idea of a lot of research and dry scholarly papers to justify funding made her cringe.
So she had hemmed and hawed and ultimately declared pre-law/social work as a double major. She took the LSAT examination, achieving very good, but not great, scores. She did have a great GPA so she figured she'd be able to get into a relatively good law school, succeed, and get a fairly good job in a fairly good firm. It had all seemed very remote to her somehow. As if she were planning someone else's life.
Then, as graduation approached, she realized in a panic, that although she might be able to get into a law good school, there was very little financing available for law students. Her father had always made it clear that the gravy boat ended upon college graduation. Not that she begrudged him that mandate. To the contrary, he'd been very generous throughout her life and especially in college but enough was enough. Dad was getting up in age and had retirement to plan for. Dad's family had a history of long, lingering, disabling diseases, Parkinson's and diabetes being her father's crossed to bear. His pension was limited and his physical condition had required him to take an early retirement two years ago.
Nathan had come up with the idea of looking for legal work in Washington, DC. "After all," he said, "that's lawyer heaven. Plus, you have all that undergraduate training in legal research and writing.." It was true. And there were six law schools in the immediate area. The idea had worked out well for Destiny. Her second interview at a DC firm last November had landed her the promise of a good job as a paralegal upon graduation, with great pay and benefits. Destiny was thrilled. Nathan was not.
Nathan had graduated the year before in journalism and was still trying to land a job in either radio, newspaper or television. Right now he was earning good money basically running the college's student services including the bookstore and the newspaper. He also had a late night radio show spinning rock and roll discs at the college radio station.
He wasn't happy, however, in the sleepy little town and was champing on the bit to try his hand at "real journalism." Unfortunately, he was getting rejection letter after rejection letter for all of his job seeking efforts.. His mood was getting more and more despondent as Destiny made her plans for the move. Up until three nights ago they had been going on the assumption that Nathan would be moving to DC along with Destiny and her cat. They had been assuming that Nathan would suffer only a very short period of unemployment and that Destiny would pay the bills along the way.
But three nights ago they had gotten into a terrible argument. Destiny had finally realized that she did not want to start her new life with Nathan depressed and dour sitting on her living room couch looking for a job. She couldn't and wouldn't do it. Nathan had taken the news with very little grace which stiffened her resolve to make the move by herself.
"Its not the end of the world," she tried to tell Nathan, "I don't even know if my job will work out. I may end up knocking on your door or back on my father's door step. You have a good job here which you love and are great at. Why not just stay here until something opens up for you in DC?
Bitterly, Nathan had accused Destiny of using his situation as an excuse to get out of the relationship. Destiny hadn't thought so at the time. She was now beginning to believe that Nathan was right.
She also had a vague, uncomfortable fear that something was wrong with her in the romance department. She hadn't felt like she was "in love" since she was fourteen years old. Destiny had fallen very hard for an undesirable, but very sexy 18 year old drug dealer.
He used and sold LSD and other assorted pills, cocaine, Methedrine, hashish, marijuana, mushroom, peyote, and occasionally opium and heroin. How he made his connections at such a young age still puzzled Destiny. At the time, Destiny had been mesmerized by the boy.
He had dropped out of high school and went to an "art school". He had a little bit of artistic talent in the painting department but was too lazy to finish school projects. But he often spent weekends painting psychedelic murals on the basement walls of friend's parent's homes. The murals were in day glow colors and were scenes from other planets.
During one LSD trip Destiny had been sure she slipped completely into one of his worlds. To this day she has only vague memories of colors, music and scents from the trip. She went into a trance and when she came out of it she found herself wrapped in a blanket which she was busily setting fire to with a lit cigarette. She dropped the blanket and walked away from the growing circle of flame completely naked and unaware she had been in any danger. Her poor friends had taken turns guarding her for the next twenty four hours to be sure she didn't do anything stupid like try to fly off the roof.
The only meaningful, lasting gift the guy had given her was a love of the game of chess. He had been a master, at least in her eyes, and she had been an apt student.
He had just loved to get high and lived for the adrenaline rush of good clandestine drug deals. So did Destiny. She built herself a reputation of being a super freak 9th grade by selling good "soft drugs" to fellow classmates. She knew more about pharmaceuticals than most pharmacists: mood-altering pharmaceuticals, that is.
And she sampled the wares as much as she could without running up a bill, becoming physically addicted or bringing attention to herself in school or at home. During the seven month relationship Destiny had kept up her grades, made drug transactions, stayed as high as possible and spent every evening with him. When they weren't selling or at a party they were in the rec. room of her father's house listening to rock and roll music, playing chess and necking and petting themselves into unbearable states of sexual arousal.
On "good days" Destiny smoked pot at the school bus stop in the morning, during lunch, after school and before bed time. Sometimes LSD or mescaline enhanced the hallucinatory high. She often tripped on weekend evenings when sleep was not so important. She loved pep pills. They gave her energy she often lacked, made her feel happy and kept her weight down. She used them carefully. She had seen a couple of girl friends end up in psychiatric hospitals because of speed. She would usually participate in "mixed pill" parties because she knew what most of the good drugs looked like. Barbiturates had no effect on her. Seconal and Tuinal (Reds and Yellow Jackets) were almost always use to for drowsy, happy highs. Quaaludes hit the marked about that time and were great both for profit and recreation. At about age 15, her group of friends added rot gut wine to their repertoire. Destiny learned to drink to oblivion, puke, smile, and start over again in the space of about three hours.
Destiny did not, however, touch or trade in the harder drugs which included PCP (angel dust), Methedrine, opium of heroin. Crack had not come out yet and few of her friends thought cocaine was cost effective. They'd take a good cheap pep pill over cocaine any day.
Intravenous drug users disgusted Destiny.. They would sell their mothers for a prick in the arm. One of her friends became so hooked on needles that she would inject herself with spring water just for the rush. Destiny saw needle use as a last, desperate step into depravity. That spring she had sadly watched the love of her life slip slowly into the oblivion of drug addiction.
But during the good times Destiny fantasized about a long life with her boyfriend by her side. They rarely had time alone together. They necked and petted themselves to distraction.
The funny thing was , when they finally did get an opportunity to sneak a whole night together they didn't actually screw. They had all their clothes off and rubbed themselves together a lot and got very horny. But neither one of them knew what went next and both were too embarrassed to admit it. Destiny awoke the next morning horribly embarrassed because the bottom sheet was wet. She hadn't known about male orgasms. It took her two years to figure out that she hadn't peed herself in her sleep that night.
Destiny had still been terribly in love with him but things were never really the same again between them. He was getting into harder and harder drugs. Destiny was afraid to follow him down that road. He started going to parties without her. Eventually he told Destiny he was tired of "hassling with her" He told her she was "too shy," and started dating an exotic looking redhead that nobody liked. Destiny wanted desperately to hold on to that indescribably beautiful feeling of being in love but it slipped away. It had taken many years for Destiny to realize that it was the feeling, not the boy that she had wanted to hold on to. And now, Destiny suddenly realized,, she didn't even remember his name or his face. Just the feeling. It was like the memory of a dream.
The last she had hears about the guy , he had flunked out of the military due to heroin addiction, had married a fellow junkie and were expecting a heroin addicted new member of the family.
After they had broken up she had continued to go to parties. She flitted from one short relationship to another, finally losing her virginity at age sixteen the same month as she got her first menstrual period. Neither event was the big deal it was made out to be. She had found her first experience with actual intercourse to be embarrassing and disappointing. As was her second and third.
Her relationships began to form a pattern. She meet a guy when she was high who she'd think she could fall for. Sometimes the guy would be a predator and just out for a good time, occasionally she would fall for the predator, be used and hurt again.
More often it would be some nice, average kid. They'd have a few dates. When they got to the groping stage of the relationship Destiny would find herself asking "is that all there is to it?" And then she'd give the guy the old "I like you as a friend speech" and so long Charlie.
After her first relationship ended, Destiny eased herself off of the drugs to some extent but could often be found sipping cheap wine out of a soda can in one or another of the girls rooms in her high school. She had all the classic symptoms of a teen age alcoholic, but no one would believe such a thing of the persona Destiny projected. She was the girl mothers most wanted their sons to date. She was bright, pretty, charming but shy, and headed for college in another state rather that a walk down the aisle with a thickening belly.
She'd hoped her pattern with men would change when she hit college but it hadn't. Even worse, often she'd find herself dating one guy while infatuated with another. And it never failed that the guy she had her eye on had his eye on the girl down the hall or, on one awful occasion, her own dorm mate.
Then she started dating Nathan. In so many ways he was all that a woman could ask for. Pleasing to the eye if not handsome. He was funny, talented and ambitious. had put himself through college without student loans or a penny from his parents. He was tall, with long baby fine blond hair and blue eyes pretty enough for a model. He was sensitive, he loved rock and roll, particularly the Beatles. They had friends in common. She got along with his mother and sister. He wanted children eventually but supported her desire for a career. What else could she ask for? A semester together had drifted into a year and before she knew it three years were gone. She had graduated with Honors with Nathan and her father sitting together companionably together in the audience. She could almost hear the wedding bells.
And three nights ago she found herself asking is this it? Is that all there is? Where are the bells and the whistles.? The fireworks? The agony of wanting a man inside you so badly you can feel it all the way down to your toes. Should I grab this ring just because its here and it looks like brass, or should I go for the gold?
Destiny didn't have the answer to those questions. Just the thought of making an earth shattering decision like ending the relationship was giving her a pounding headache.
Destiny came out of her reverie. Her gas gauge light was on. It was a stinking hot Florida afternoon, and she smelled like an ape in the monkey house of some zoo. She'd been driving since dawn and had eaten nothing except a bag of chocolate covered pretzels. She she'd drunk 32 ounces of Diet Pepsi since she last stopped and had to pee desperately. It was time for a pit stop.
Destiny signaled and pulled into the right hand lane. She saw a sign for food and fuel and breathed a sigh of relief. The exit was only two miles down the road.
Destiny popped a Pretenders tape into her tape deck and started to sing along with Crissy Hine in her strong alto voice. "I went back to Ohio. But my family was gone." Appropriate tune, she thought as she drove.
She glanced at her watch as she steered onto the off ramp. 1:30. Good. I should be able to make it to the by three. Almost there. She turned left onto the highway and located a likely looking pit stop. Good, she though, a Smuckeys. Decent food, air conditioning and clean toilets. What more can a girl ask for?
Destiny suddenly realized that just minutes ago she had been thinking of Nathan in almost precisely the same terms as she was now describing Smuckey's Restaurants. It was an epiphany. The relationship was something she could easily settle for, but not with much enthusiasm
Well, she thought, I guess that says something about how I value the relationship. Its something known and comfortable, respectable, replaceable. It keeps away the loneliness. Its not unique or exciting. Its not, she decided, what I want for the long haul.
Destiny felt like she had just walked out of a warm, stultifying box. She knew what she would have to tell Nathan when she returned to Ohio to pack her things up for the move. Nathan would not be welcome to join her in DC.
She pulled up to the gas pump first. Her Volvo got very cranky when it was low on gas. A mechanic had told here there was probably debris in the gas tank. But it wasn't worth the cost of pulling out the tank to have it cleaned.
After being stranded a couple of times and having ignoramuses insist to her that she was out of gas when she wasn't, she had learned to cater to the cars needs. She'd come very close to the danger line this afternoon. She counted herself lucky that she wasn't out in the middle of the highway right now hoofing it to the station in the mid-day heat.
Destiny walked up to the cashier and paid for a fill up. She returned to the pumps and began pumping gas. She finished up, then checked the oil, the water level, and washed windshield which was coated with bodies of thousands of kamikaze Florida insects. Destiny wondered idly how many varieties of insects had met their fate against her windshield during her drive that day.
Finished at the pump, Destiny drove over to the Smuckey's parking lot. The place didn't seem to have pulled in much of a crowd this afternoon which was all to the good as far as Destiny was concerned. She breathed a sigh of relief as the air conditioning hit her heat flushed face. She headed for the rest room.