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Was Destiny My Driver?

Destiny: 

 

I can't understand how I have managed to reach the vibrant age of 68. When you hear my story you will know why I say "I do not know if I will be here tomorrow". 

 

You see, I have come to believe that my life is ruled by destiny. There have been so many occasions where inches, split seconds, and unthinking decisions have changed the course of my life forever. 

 

My First Date with Destiny: 

 

It was at my maternal grandmother’s house, where I spent the first five or six years of my life, that my first encounter with destiny occurred. 

 

It was early evening, I remember that. The glow of the fire lit the room, so probably near winter. I was behaving as a typical male child running around the living room when my foot caught the table leg and sent me headlong towards my grandmother’s fireplace.  The family was seated around the table so the fire guard had not yet been put in place even though the coal fire had been burning for a few hours.   

 

I could see the flames leaping upwards as I careened towards the hearth. My foot had caught the edge of the brick masonry and propelled me forwards. Either instinct, or destiny, took over as the stumble propelled my hands forward directly onto the hot iron guard creating a barrier between me and the flames.  This guard allowed my hands to push me back into the room. My bloodcurdling scream and instantaneous blisters meant an ambulance ride to hospital, but that guard prevented me from diving directly into the flames and lighting my pyjamas on fire. 


Destiny Calls Out:

 

At eleven years of age, cycling up the slope of the cul-de-sac, a task I had repeated a hundred times, I heard a voice call me.  I looked over my shoulder to check which of my friends had shouted out.  I saw no-one. No-one was there.  When I turned back to continue my journey, I collided with the rear end of a parked van. The crash was followed by a falling sensation, and then nothing. My head had bounced off the concrete kerb stone and knocked me unconscious. Once again, another ambulance ride and, this time, a night spent in the hospital with a concussion. It occurred to me later that people had fallen far less hard and died, but destiny decreed that it wasn’t my time. 

One Way to Destiny: 

 

Returning from America after a three week holiday in heaven – well, Minnesota anyway, I knew something had changed.  Nuneaton, my home town hadn’t changed. Change in Nuneaton took far longer than three weeks. It was me that had changed, and I was on my way to college to begin the new term. The route was one I had taken every week so it was as if my body knew the way without conscious direction. 

 

The road outside the Department of Social Security had always been one way only, traffic approaching from the left. I reached the kerb and checked to my left, it was absolutely clear, not a car in sight. I took the first step to cross the road when a wing mirror hit me on the chin and the van's wheel arch hit my knee. Shock took over causing my body to jump backwards and stand upright.  I couldn't move an inch.  The van stopped and the passenger jumped out. 

 

“Are you OK? What were you thinking?” 

 

With a head nod, I signalled I was OK. I was hearing the man speak, I was still standing upright, a quick swipe of the hand indicated there was no blood coming from my chin, but I was cognizant of a slight pain from the knee. 

 

I assured the man again that I was OK but remember telling the driver the road had been one way when I left three weeks before. He shook his head in what appeared to be relief combined with a bit of annoyance, and got back into the van leaving me to continue where I was headed.  I was one second away from being directly in front of that van, on a road that had changed dramatically in three weeks, in a town that rarely changed, if ever. 
 

Destiny Hits the Road:

 

One November morning along an expansive open road I drove my scooter towards a client’s house.  Even the bike is familiar with every turn and bump as I take this route every Tuesday morning for our 10.30 exercise session. I could see the fog thirty or forty yards away, close to the river, so I decelerated from 50 mph to 30 mph, aware that a bend was somewhere in that soup.  As I entered the fog, visibility was naught. Suddenly the back wheel of my scooter skidded as if I'd hit an oil slick or a patch of invisible black ice, causing the scooter to careen off the road and into whatever was in front of me. 

 

“This is going to hurt!” I thought to myself, the hapless passenger. Just before impact, I saw a thick hedge racing towards me. “Bumph!” The scooter hit the hedge full on and came to a halt, stopping my forward progress and, fortunately, cushioning the blow. 

 

I pulled the scooter upright and hauled it out of the foliage, aware that I was walking, so nothing major had happened to me, hoping it was the same for the scooter. 

 

With the scooter standing stably, I pulled the clutch in and twisted the accelerator. My baby roared back to life. Relieved, I turned the machine around and set off again towards my client’s house. It wasn’t until I arrived that I saw the jagged edge of the front mudguard. It had broken and pieces were missing. Considering what could have happened, I shrugged it off.  I would go back after the session to get the pieces and patch it back together with electrical tape.   It would be good as new. 

 

By the end of the session the sky had cleared and the sun was bright, so finding the pieces was an easy task.  I gathered them up and walked back to the scooter where I had parked it on the verge. 

 

Before I took off, I glanced at the sign on the corner where the accident had occurred.  The sign shows chevrons at the start of the bend and four yards away a metal pole with a sign on top warning motorists that this section of road was open to flooding in bad weather.  The chevrons were head height. The pole solid metal. The bike had arrowed, completely out of control, straight between the two and into the safety of the hedge.

 

Destiny Was My Driver...  

 

 


on July 21 at 8:51

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