By Matt Mataxas
Destiny is a weird, nebulous thing. “We were destined to win the Super Bowl.” “I was destined to pass that test.” “We were destined to meet and fall in love.”
Dates with Destiny are often infrequent and fleeting, over before you even get a full glimpse of the whole picture.
Seurat’s “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte” is what comes to mind when I think about Destiny. I can see the small, individual dots of paint, but I can’t see the entire picture that they collectively compose; that is, until I met the personified version of my Destiny two years ago and had the supreme pleasure of being her friend.
I had never met someone so radiant, someone who just exuded natural, genuine bliss and love. My Destiny had gleaming white teeth and a smile that leaped off of her face.
Her scholastic notes were a scene of simultaneous beauty and organized chaos; like a scientist had vomited art all over the page, but decided that it was a serendipitous regurgitation rather than one that needed to be cleaned.
In a University brimming with bright minds and astounding intellect, her mind was the brightest and her intellect the most cunning.
I knew from the moment I met her I was meeting my Destiny. Schmidt knew it when he met Cece, Ross knew it when he met Rachel, and I knew it when I met her.
I thought it would be like the programs on television, I thought it would be like thousands of other cinematic plot lines. I thought, knew, believed that one day the “we’re just friends” would become “I do.”
I thought everything between now and then was simply preliminary; the dating other people, pretending to be satisfied with only friendship, the “someday” and “one day” social constructs; I thought they were foreplay for the ultimate resolution.
My one day would come, resulting in the realization of our someday. I looked forward to it, knowing that today didn’t matter because tomorrow would bring my Destiny with it.
But then it didn’t. Destiny left me on Earth. Destiny had thoughts of her own, thoughts that she didn’t share with anyone. My sunbeam had a shadow that no one could see. My sunbeam shined so brightly on myself and others that it blinded us all to her hidden demons.
My sunbeam, Savannah’s sunbeam, Olivia’s sunbeam, her family’s sunbeam, OUR sunbeam became shrouded in a cloud and faded, leaving us all confused, hurt, and lost.
Losing Bri was like walking out of a movie theater and being blinded by the light, but in reverse. I, we, were all so accustomed to being blinded by her joy, love, laughter, and warmth that we were completely unprepared for the ensuing darkness.
Dates with Destiny are rare and fleeting. Ross realized his with Rachel, Schmidt fulfilled his with Cece. I will not be fortunate enough to physically follow in their footsteps, but Brianna Cochran’s light has not ceased to shine.
When you recycle a piece of trash someone carelessly left in the woods, when you walk beside the ocean’s edge, and when you dance along to 90s music, Bri is with you.
When you stand at the brink of a dark abyss, when you go out of your way for someone, and when you appreciate life’s little blessings with such a tremendous exuberance that others appreciate them too, Bri is with you.
Kanye West has a line saying “If you admire someone you should go ahead and tell them, people never get the flowers while they can still smell them.”
Bri didn’t need Kanye to tell her this; she gave people flowers every day of her life.
Do not hesitate to tell someone how much you care about them, how much they matter.
Do not falter in sharing your warmth or your kindness with anyone, stranger or friend.
The sun still rises every day, blinding me with Her love and earnest compassion.
Bri left our side, but only so she could do an even better job at shining down on all of us from above.