When you think about people, you remember them usually for the way they made you laugh or because of their dynamic personality or maybe even a funny joke they told. I remember Fate because she had multiple personalities. On any given day, she could be the tenderhearted child who wanted your love and affection or she could unleash her satanic personality, which always meant that it was going to be a rough day.
I loved Fate though. I can’t explain it. Anyone that unstable deserves a fan club and I was her #1. She would come into class cursing and saying some of the worst things known to mankind to which I would reply, “Hi Fate, so nice to see you today.”
She was fashionable and always wore the best clothes. Her hair was always kept short because her mother hated long hair. I’d always imagine her mother holding her down to cut her hair. I feel like her mother knew that her hair couldn’t get too long. It was like a Samson thing. Her hair was her strength; the longer it was the worst she’d be.
Fate had several older brothers, all of whom she would beat up on a regular occasion. The students said the reason Fate could box was because of the fights with her brothers, all of them. Oh, did I mention her front teeth? From some fight, Fate had lost part of her front tooth and when she smiled she’d look absolutely crazy.
I’d take her home some days because she lived right near my husband’s work. One day while driving Fate home, she had asked me about the Gorillaz because their CD was playing in my car. Fate had asked about the characters and why they had cartoons on their album cover.
It was quite a fascinating conversation trying to explain how each member of the band represents themselves with a cartoon. Fate was astonished. She thought it was genius for a band to do something like this. I marveled at her awestruck look.
Some days, I think back to Fate and her wicked smile or her horrible meltdowns. She was a true artist, one who will continue to be held down and oppressed by her neighborhood, her life. Her creativity will be meted out by the horribleness that is her existence. Her artwork was fantastic and edgy, but she’ll probably never see past her front porch.
It was students like Fate that made me realize how poverty can oppress people forever. Had Fate been born to a middle class or even working class family, her creativity and artistic tendencies would have been encouraged. She would have been pushed to pursue her creative endeavors and make something of her life. Instead, she’ll continue to rot away in Southeast DC with no hope. Students like Fate make me appreciate where I came from. I was lucky to make something of myself; Fate won’t have that chance.