Waking up in the arms of a man about whom I know nothing was not the future romantic fantasy I imagined when I was a young girl. I didn’t imagine being a superhero either.
I fought it. Being a kid just trying to fit in was hard enough. Each night I prayed, let me be normal, please. But those prayers were not well received. My future would never be normal. Instead, my fate was different, quite different, but different in a special way.
I was sixteen when I first noticed something unusual. A boy in my school was clearly upset. He sat alone, on the verge of tears. Our eyes met from across the room. In my mind, I heard screaming voices. I saw his mother get hit. The man who hit her turned on the boy. The boy’s shoulders tried to fold around his body. He saw my stare and rose from his chair.
He then approached a group of girls chatting in a back corner of the classroom behind a row of desks. Again, my mind’s eye kicked in. I saw the boy raise his fist. Before he could hurt anyone, I called out his name. “Me, Jason, try and hit me.”
Jason turned my way, a pained and confused look on his face. I reached out my hand. He inched towards me, sat by my side, lowered his head and sobbed. The girls in the corner continued on with their conversation, unfazed by what had just transpired. I felt completely drained.
Making Sense of It All
That night I tried to make sense of what occurred. There was no sense to be made. A year later it happened again, this time with one of my girlfriends and a man who was a lunch monitor in the cafeteria.
My mind saw him taking her to an empty classroom and touching her in places that were not OK to touch. Again, I called his name, just like I did with Jason and said, “me, I dare you to try that with me.” He also shot a look my way. When I stared back, his face grew bright red and he left the lunch room. I didn’t see him again; none of us did.
High school graduation finally rolled around accompanied by a chance to get away with my family. We headed to a cabin at a beach town, the same one we always rented. My mother kept asking me if there was something wrong. “You are quiet, you don’t seem your normal self.”
That was when I told her what happened.
“You have a gift my beautiful daughter.” She caressed my face. Her smile warmed me like the summer sun. “Use it wisely.”
And then my mind’s eye saw my mother as a young girl. I tried to shut down what I saw but couldn’t. My screams tried to frighten the images away but failed.
“I’m sorry my beautiful daughter. Yes, sometimes a gift can be a curse.”
I ran out of the door to the beach hoping to find some peace. Standing at the water’s edge I dropped to my knees in the wet sand. My ears heard nothing but the ocean’s song. My eyes saw only the ocean waves. I stayed until the tide ran out, sand in my hands and a prayer in my heart.
A full moon lit a path across the water directly to me. The light continued on to a solitary house I had never before noticed lit by a single candle in the front window. The door was open. I spent the night, on a couch, covered with a blanket, watched over by a stranger I didn’t know and didn’t want to. It was there that I would return whenever my gift was simply too much to bear. In that place I found peace.