Excerpt from Ken McArthur’s story, “The Little I Know”
All week long, trouble kept piling in for Destiny.
Legal bills were piling up and there was no money to pay them. Her health insurance was gone with her business and she worried what would happen if she got sick. Luckily she had a place to stay in a spare bedroom at her grandmother’s house, so she wouldn’t be homeless, but things were bleak.
She was putting out job applications, but nobody was responding. Over and over the word kept running through her mind, “Alone.”
Until recently, all Destiny had ever seen was success and now all she saw for the future was being alone, falling farther and farther into the depths of desperation.
At the end of the week, it was desperation pushing her back to Tom’s door.
“I just didn’t want to be alone.”
Destiny’s eyes shifted away from Tom’s clear eyes quickly and moved around the room, landing on a series of curious objects.
There was a picture frame made out of used Popsicle sticks with a crayon drawing of a smiley face, a fuzzy stuffed puppy with suction cup feet with the message, “Hang in there” hung around its neck.
Destiny didn’t feel like hanging in there.
“What makes you feel alone, Destiny?”
“It’s like an empty taste in my mouth, Tom. I was feasting on cake and now there’s a metallic, dull aftertaste telling me nothing was real.”
“I get what you told me. I’ve thought about it all week and you’re right, the one thing I know with complete certainty is I exist, but what good is that? Why do I exist? Just to suffer? I didn’t do anything to deserve this!”
“Did you think about what else you knew for sure?”
“I don’t even know where to start thinking Tom. All I felt was alone.”
“You know you exist, so start there. Right now you are thinking about me, so in some form or another, I exist even if only in your mind.”
“You mean I might be making you up?”
“Either you are making me up and I exist in your mind or I exist separately from your mind, but either way, we are together right now. You can choose to walk away from me or try to tear me from your mind, but once I’ve entered your life we are connected in ways we may never understand completely. Go ahead and try to forget me.”
Third grade returned in an instant and the terror of Frank Young, grinning in his yellow and brown striped shirt as his hairy legged spider crept up the back of her neck.
Shivers ran through her body.
She would never forget the moment.
“Whether I’m a part of you or you are a part of me or even if we are both a part of something bigger, one thing is sure. We are together. You may forget me for years, but somewhere deep inside of who you are we are connected. And I’m not the only one. How many other people have come into your life in the past 27 years?”
Abigail McBeal and her 97 year old smile sprang into Destiny’s mind. How many lives did she touch?
The thought was overwhelming for a moment and she started counting.
How many people could she really remember from the last 27 years?
Mom, Dad, her old-maid Aunt Florence who sent chocolate every Christmas, the crossing guard from the first grade, the funny twins from second grade, Mrs. R. — what a teacher she was. The coach from high school, the one she made up the words to the song for, “He’s a real nowhere man, sitting on his nowhere can, counting all the laps we ran for nobody.”
“Tom, I guess that list could go on forever.”
“Destiny, you have at least two things you can know for sure:
- The first fact of the little I know is the little — I am.
- The second fact of the little I know is – We’re together.
“Then why do I feel so alone?”
“Because, we feel what we think. If we think we are alone then we feel alone. If we think we are surrounded by all of the people who have blessed our lives, then we feel together. Think about all of the people who you’ve really loved and who have loved you and see how that makes you feel.”
And so it happened. Destiny came into Tom’s office alone, but they left together.
If you would like to find out what Tom shared with Destiny next, please comment below.
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