I’m standing in line at the 7-11 buying a pregnancy test for the girl who’s been my best friend since the day we shared a microscope in fourth grade science when I solidify a belief that previously had no clear lines or definition. Life can throw one hell of a curve ball—it’s something we all grasp at some point. I know, she knows and the clerk eyeing us suspiciously from behind the cluttered counter knows that the world is far from fair. “Fair” does not mean buying this kind of test before either of us are old enough to take a driving exam. “Fair,” at this point, is a distant memory, a fleeting shadow at the heels of the innocence lost the minute I handed the old man his money and led my terrified best friend out the door. “Fair” is quite literally flushed down the toilet, its lingering presence evident in the shaking hands of a girl who can do nothing more than try to convince herself that the little pink plus sign will fade if she stares at it just a little bit longer. Shoulders slumping in defeated unison as we stare blankly at the bathroom walls, she and I know we have been pitched a curve ball high and inside the plate, and that there is nothing left to do but strike out as karma effortlessly racks up another win.
I have always believed in some form of karmic justice, something akin to the adage “what goes around comes around” to which most people subscribe, but as I sit perched on the counter, at a loss for the words that usually come so readily, I begin to understand karma on a deeper level than I once thought possible. Karma, like life and George Steinbrenner, does not play by anyone’s rules. Karma does not believe in proportional punishment. It does not always take an eye for an eye. Sometimes the most heinous criminals walk free, while the nicest guy in the office has to spend four hours in a court house and $300 for blowing through a stop sign. And sometimes, the fifteen-year-old who does her homework and is never too mean to her younger brother and sister makes one mistake and almost loses herself entirely.
Karma reiterates what is often wishfully forgotten: our defining moments do not have movie script endings. Just weeks after the devastating attacks on the World Trade Center, the New York’s beloved Yankees lost the World Series. But karma, like a Cubs fan of any age, knows that there is always next year. On the day her mom drove her to the clinic, my best friend did not get closure, did not get an answer to her all-encompassing why? She got hit by a pitch and it almost ended her game. But this I believe is what karma and, essentially, life boils down to. You get hit with a pitch, but you get to take your base.
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