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I'm Ian. Twenty-six years old and a bit paranoid. Why, you ask? ESP. Since I could remember, I've been seeing things not everybody sees. Most believers consider it a blessing, but once you're stuck with it, it becomes a huge problem. I was never a socially normal child. The damned things would sit beside me at the cafeteria, sleep on my bed, stand in the shower with me, etc. It sounds ridiculously awkward, I know. Just, please, hear me out. I'm glad you're reading this. If you understand me, then God bless you.
My mother and father passed away when I was still a teenager. Every time I think of them, tears run down my cheeks, even though my father always doubted and berated me, branding me as a failure because I couldn't get my life together. My mother, on the flipside, did understand me, but feared the repercussions of vouching for me because dad would get angry at her.
Out of the thousands of encounters I've had, there wasn't any where I'd get hurt physically, but the psychological stress was more than I could bear. That's why I stayed in a psychiatric ward for some time, because a handful of my experiences had given me PTSD.
This was eleven years ago. My memory's a bit foggy, but I'll never forget it.
My ability had caused me a lot of pain, especially in my late teens. My mom had high blood pressure watching me and dad throw obscenities at each other when I was home, and that's why I remained angry at my dad for some time even after he died.
You know, they put white paper tags on your wrist when you're admitted in a hospital. Then when you're dead, they put a red wristband on.
Anyways, there was this time I visited my mom in the hospital in the evening. We talked for a bit, then I gave her some flowers (which I put on her bedside table), then we watched television for a bit. Mom was experiencing a lot of pain, and I was too. The only difference was that she could smile through it, and I couldn't. Everyday she had to experience needles, IVs, prescription medicines and lying in bed all day, but her optimism remained, like some immovable inner strength.
I said goodbye for the night, just when my mom fell asleep. She looked so peaceful.
I walked into the cold, tile-covered hallway and closed the door gingerly. Every step of my sneakers let out a squeak that reverberated through the hallway. No one was there but me. All there was were labeled doors and a window at the edge of the hall. I felt a presence behind me... no, just paranoia.
I reached the elevator door, relieved, and pressed the down button. Within seconds, I heard a"ding" sound, and the elevator doors opened, as if welcoming me into the box of metal. A young woman was inside, much to my surprise. She was about the same age as me, and quite attractive. I stepped inside and smiled at her casually, to which she responded similarly. It was an awkward situation, mind you. I was an introvert with a cute girl in a quiet elevator.
The nauseating motion stopped when we reached the fifth floor, when the "ding" resounded again. The doors slid sidewards, revealing a fair-skinned woman in patient's garb. Her hair was damp, and smelled like shampoo, which permeated the small space we were in. Then I noticed something wrong about the woman. Like greased lightning, I reached for the close button, before she could get in. Her face remained expressionless even as the doors closed to hide her face.
"Well, that was a bit rude..." said my lady companion sternly.
I responded, voice trembling, "Th-the red tag...on her wrist...she was dead already..."
"Oh..." she answered, sounding enlightened. "Something like this?"
I used to volunteer at a day care center during adolesence. I don't know, it just seemed like a good opportunity. Besides, I enjoyed looking after kids, because they embodied the innocence and joy that my strict father constantly scolded me about as a child. I wanted these kids to be happy, not like me.
One of the kids, Kristinne, used to pick a small bundle of flowers from their garden, come to day care, tug my shirt and give them to me. I would take the flowers and look at them in my hand while I watched her play with her friends. The heartwarming gesture continued everyday for almost a year. One day, Kristinne came up to me, tugging my shirt. She told me she and her family were going away, and I admit, I was saddened a bit. She didn't have answers as to why, when or where they were going. She didn't have flowers to give me either, but she told me to kneel down, then she hugged me.
"I'm gonna miss you, uncle Ian," said a pillowy voice over my shoulder.
"Me too, Kristinne. Me too." Tears ran down my cheeks. "Don't worry, we'll see each other again, hmmk?"
I found out later that day that Kristinne and her family were throwing a going-away party through a phone call from her father. Even little Kristinne spoke through the phone, giving me her own little message before the call ended. I was glad to oblige, so I planned to head early the next day.
I went to their house in the morning, and was greeted by the sight of groups of people, all of whom I assumed to be family and friends. I smiled through the crowds, sometimes noticing some of them sobbing. I wanted to see Kristinne and her parents and bid them farewell in personal. After a bit of asking around, I met a middle-aged woman who must've recognized me as the day care volunteer. She must've been crying, because her eyes looked the part.
"K-Kristinne...she and her family had their whole life ahead of them..." she said, as she broke into a cry.
I was going to ask her what happened, but then I fully realized from the absence of streamers and music that it wasn't a going away party.
Then I felt something. Something tugging at my shirt, but when I looked, no one was there.
My chest hurt, and tears ran down my cheeks.
I was now working in an office full-time, renting an apartment suited for a bachelor like me. The rent was good and it was near where my parents lived.
Sometimes when dad would be out of the house, mom would ask me to come over for supper or just when she needed to see me and my older sister. So this one time, I did, but dad was there. He said he wanted to talk to me, and I had gotten sick of his attitude.
Once I got there, he ushered me into a seat at the kitchen table. He sounded stern, as he always did. If he was going to say the same things over and over again, I would've just walked out of there. But I was internally furious at all those years he'd never been there for me, never believed and supported me.
Why couldn't he act like a father?
Next thing I knew, we were shouting at each other incessantly, throwing blames and taunts here and there. I stood up and occasionally pounded on the table. I needn't tell you about the conversation, but what I did was pick up a kitchen knife. If you knew my dad, you'd understand. I wasn't going to do it, but I just wanted to let him see how mad I was at him for ruining my life.
My mom intervened, making me drop the knife. She was shouting and crying for us to stop. I felt her embrace, and I felt guilty for everything. Mom didn't deserve this; she didn't deserve a family like this, a short-tempered husband and a rebellious son.
"Ian, please...stop..." mom said, sobbing now.
My dad looked worried and angry, standing opposite of me. He couldn't believe I was going to stab him, although I assumed he knew better.
"Mom, I'm just...I'm tired of everything. Aren't you, too?"
"Ian...your father died...just last night..."
Then mom passed out. I called 911, and rode in the ambulance that took her to the hospital. I was crying like a baby, holding her hand. "Please, don't die on me, mom..."
I'll never forget that day when she died on arrival.