By that time, I was thirteen, and, in my opinion, a fully-fledged adult, although I knew my parents had other ideas. I would argue, I would burst into sour tears, I would blame others for my tedious mistakes, and so, they labelled me 'childish'. But, in my heart, I knew I wasn't really that way; the act was my identity, it was the only way I could see myself through others' eyes, and also, have my gift but pass it off as a quirkiness of the personality. Not that I needed to hide it by then. The whole of my close family (mother, father, grandparents, uncles, aunts) knew, and I had learnt to control its bursts of supernatural energy until I was alone.
Well, I had hit puberty and was fast growing up. I fell recklessly into unrequited love, and consequently fell out with the modern world. Enthralled, I was under the spell of the 1930s and the gentleman that they had brought out with them into my pitiful life.
But, just as suddenly, he disappeared right out of my life, which returned me to its bitter and burning inferno of being lost in a place I called home.
That year’s winter came upon world, biting and chilling right down to our very bones, and I sensed (a new sense that was unusual to my mind, like a new taste to my tongue) one day that the trees shivered with us all.
I was on my way back from school, where I had spent most of my childhood, a school containing those other few exceptional Mathmatistes. My parents knew that if I couldn’t hide what I could do, I might as well be placed inconspicuously within a group of others who were special. Although we were all ‘special’, I was the only one who was looked down as a monster at home. I could tell, almost too easily, that my fellow pupils were logically wary of me; they admired my memory skill, my grip with numbers, but they could tell that I was hiding a deep secret, and had been for many years.
Beware, the trees suddenly whispered as I walked across the thin layer of frost, It’s coming, beware.
Sceptically (I had gained a sceptic disposition from being the only one who could hear the inside of a person’s mind, as well as what they voiced on the outside. Most often, it wasn’t the same), I assumed that those trees were talking about the up-coming winter; I could feel that they, generally, were afraid of the effects that winter brought forward each and every year: the ice that coated their leaves and caused them pain as they had to give them up once again. I was startled by the little voices in my head, but, as with every part of my growing up, I picked up my pace and walked on. It had become natural to ‘keep calm and carry on’.
My mother asked just two words as I unlocked the front door and stepped inside. I could see the hesitation in her coffee-coloured eyes, her fear of me freezing up her skinny limbs, and her lips forming a thin line. She used to be quite a pretty woman, fair-haired and fluffy, but life had taken that relaxed air from her. She lost weight from the stress of having to care for me, she covered her hair with natural ash Henna, and she stopped making an effort to look her best.
My father was the same. Hypocritically, he took up drinking and his business went down hill.
“Why has this happened to us?” I sometimes heard them whisper at night, “Why us?”
As though their only and long-wished-for child was a curse, and not a blessing.
Didn’t they think that I’d be crying the same question to the distant stars every night?
Why me? Why me? What did I do?
I didn’t say a word of reply to my mother. I didn’t need to; she wasn’t expecting an answer to her petty civilities. It wasn’t fair, it wasn’t as though I was responsible for being me; I couldn’t control who I was, or why I had been given these problematic stages. I was special, I was unique…and they couldn’t stand it.
My evening activity usually involved locking the door of my tiny attic bedroom and working on the endless amounts of homework that I had been given. I would always be able to tell when I should emerge for dinner, firstly because of my gift, but also, secondly, because of the delicious smell of my father’s spiced cooking that would waft up our tower-shaped house, right to me at the top.
Our house was casually hidden by trees, and yet obvious, as the spire pierced right into the sky. It was mystical and yet so much of a prison to me; I would not leave it at the weekends, for fear that my parents would follow me, they go to keep an eye on me, as though I would be doing something bad to upset the balance of the ‘given world’.
Ironically, my parents lived in a parish church, yet they felt that they were keeping a ‘devil-child’ above the vestry…
Once dinner was over, I would traipse back up the spiral stairs to my bedroom. I then wouldn’t drape the room with black sorrow, I wouldn’t mope either, and all I could do was suffer in silence. And that night, suffer I did.
Because that’s when the next stage began.
That’s when the dreams began.