Iris never believed in fate.
In fact, when I bring this up to her, she dismisses the idea as fantasy. She didn’t think that things happened for any particular reason.
“Things just happen,” she says. “To think otherwise is...it’s all in the movies. The idea that everything happens for a reason.”
I lean back in my seat, perplexed. “So things just happen? There’s no plan?”
She messes with things on her desk. “I don’t think there is.” With one hand she wipes down the surface, while the other hand grips the edge. “Do you?”
“I like to think there is,” I reply quickly, hopefully. “I think, to stay sane, I have to know that everything means something.”
“Or everything happens by chance,” she finishes, killing my thought. I deflate like a balloon. “One action leads to another, and then another, and so forth.”
I am captivated by, like always, the way she moves. Without conscious awareness, Iris floats about the room gracefully. Boxes line the floor, stacks of paper everywhere. When I offer to help clean this mess, she tells me that she could handle it on her own. She likes to do things her own way, organization no exception.
I don’t let this conversation die. “So there is no Divine Plan? No one makes us this plan that we have to follow?”
This makes her glance up from her work, her work of organizing. Mischievously, her eyes flicker to my own. “Right,” she agrees, smiling just for a second.
“But what if,” I continue, amusing myself, “something happens that is so crazy, and so out there, and the only way you can explain it is by calling it Fate?”
She doesn’t respond.
Before I repeat myself, I ask, “What would be an example of something happening just by chance?”
“Well,” she replies insightfully, thinking. “I go back and forth on the idea of Fate. I’ve decided that it doesn’t exist because all things, good or bad, just happen. For no particular reason. It’s juvenile to think that there’s a reason for everything. Sure, it’d be great, but is that real?”
She watches how closely I watch her, her words like knives. “Are you okay?”
It gets harder to breathe in there, the air rancid. I can feel carbon dioxide leaving my lungs without the entrance of any oxygen. Consequently, the room starts spinning.
“Nomi, you can’t take this stuff to heart,” she says, tilting her head. But she appeared to be underwater. Everything, even my hands in front of me, seemed obscure.
So much happened between her and me, so much. And if it all never mattered, if there were no reasons for any of it, then I won’t come out alive. I know it. I am going to die right there, and she is going to move on unscathed.
Flashbacks rip through my being, the sound of her voice all sad and happy and angry. I cover my ears, trying to block them out, but that just amounts to her puzzled expression. “I really don’t know what’s going on here,” she sighs.
I don’t know what went on for two years of my fucking life.