Knowing sparks in my blood.
The pulsing heat of the Milky Way spills through me, the image so vivid I can nearly touch the spinning mass of stars and planets moving at breathtaking speed. Just like that, I’m plugged into the cosmos. Who has plugged me in, or why, remains as mysterious as the star-studded images unfurling before my eyes. Carefully I park the Camry before the here-and-now disappears altogether, and I have an accident. Why I’m plugged in—why the visions are becoming more intense—is beyond comprehension.
They’re taking over my life.
The whirling slows, and the familiar sight of the solar system fills my brain. Jupiter shimmers in a rainbow of colors. It’s a showstopper compared to Pluto, a boulder twirling in black seas. Earth isn’t much larger, a blue dot gliding in a noble path around the sun’s whipping fire. The sight of my world sends pangs of affection surging through me.
Too quickly, I’m ripped away. An invisible force pulls my consciousness from the solar system, back into a larger configuration of stars. With misgiving I lose sight of earth. The solar system fades quickly, the stars dimming and the planets sinking from view. I’m left with a void as deep as eternity, and the anxiety over what will come next.
What will it reveal? My skin grows clammy with apprehension.
I’m an unwilling soothsayer of future events, a reluctant diviner of the past. I don’t understand why I carry this burden. It’s not like my friends know, or anyone else. Instinct has kept me from sharing the facts surrounding my unusual powers with all but one confidante, now dead.
There’s nothing in the Camry’s back seat but library books and a sleeping bag. Yet an unseen force as sharp as a blade’s tip prods the back of my neck.
Shutting my eyes, I cut off the car’s engine.
I can’t recall a time when these sneak peeks into the past and the future weren’t embedded in my DNA. They aren’t useful. Sometimes they’re embarrassing. Three years ago, during my first week at Shaker Heights High, I was struck by a vision of the football coach lubing up in his shower. A chest matted with hair long enough for a sheepdog, and he was lathering up, taking too much time in his sudsy privacy. I understood with alarming certainty he was fantasizing about me.
The vision arrived while I was walking to second period Geometry. I ran smack into a wall.
The play-by-play melted away in seconds. Not that it mattered. For the rest of freshman year, I skipped sports assemblies for fear of running into the coach.
Today the knowing isn’t random or embarrassing or just plain bizarre. It’s immediate and dangerous. I resist the message.
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