Ascend

 

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The Beginning

I had come in to work today at five in the morning, hoping there be a small truck load. My hopes were broken, as Mr. Flores came walking towards us with a “gun." He had a grim look on his face.

"900 boxes today sir...," he uttered. Mr. Flores, a man in his thirties, with a strong will and character. He sighed heavily as Tony enthusiastically stepped forward, cutting through the plastic wrap around the stacked boxes on the pallet. Mr. Flores gave me the "gun."

"Halludale, sir," he commanded me as he walked around the ensuing chaos and began to cut open the boxes rolling towards the end of the conveyor belt.

"We are going to finish in an hour, right?!" asked Tony with a little too much enthusiasm in the morning. He was shorter than I am—skinny—but lean with muscle. I could say with certainty that I had a crush on him, and on the silky-smooth hair he combed to the side.

"Sure..." I responded. Tony looked at me with a wild glint in his eyes.

"To the front?!" exclaimed Robert.

"Yeah!" responded Tony, as he threw the last box onto the belt. I waited for Ramon to come forth with the next pallet, as Tony moved the wooden pallet out of the way. Robert carefully maneuvered before the belt and parked the pallet as close to the conveyor belt as possible.

"We need boxes guys!" exclaimed Mr. Flores. Quickly Tony cut through the plastic wrap and began unloading onto the belt. I pushed along the boxes as I scanned the bar-code, careful not miss one.

One by one, Tony and I sliced through the plastic wrap and then loaded the heavy boxes into the conveyor belt. Personnel get their safety knives and took care of the merchandise within the boxes. Two to three people stood on one side and divided woman, men, and children clothing. The other side, people searched the open boxes and took out products that belonged on the floor.

"Five o'clock crew, go to break!" yelled David suddenly.

"What time is it?" I asked Mrs. Delamaris; a co-worker. She was a little pudgy and always had her hair in a ponytail. Her eyes were dark brown, and she had dark-colored skin. On occasion she limped from a fracture on her knee. Ever since I have been working here, she has been kind and considerate. We got along well.

We head for the break-room. Tony, I, and Robert washed our hands, then found a seat. Mrs. Delamaris, and many other people came strolling in with their own lunches and snacks.

"Ignore the world time," Tony told me as I plugged my ears with my headphones. Mrs. Delamaris sat next to Tony.

"Do you want some?" Tony asked me. I unplugged my ears to listen better. "It's really good man."

"No, thanks," I responded. The small piece of chocolate caked looked scrumptious. He nodded with a hint of disappointment in his eyes, and an awkward frown. I was taken aback from his reaction. It’s not that I don’t want some, but my stomach hurts with solids so early in the morning.

“Woah!” I exclaimed. My alarm was suddenly blaring, our fifteen-minute break was over.

“Ya, se termino?” asked Mrs. Delamaris. I nodded. Everyone else followed suit and rose from their chairs. The few that didn’t bring lunch or snack, quickly left.

"Adian, go to linens," commanded Mr. Flores when he walked by. I nodded, then made my way towards the linen department. In the distance, all my co-workers were opening boxes, cleaning the product, and putting it on the grey carts.

"Good morning Tommy.”

"Que honda Adian" he responded, as he appeared in-between the pallets. He was built. Not lean, but he had that body-builder type of thing going on. He always fixed his hair into a mohawk, or other times he styled it straight. Yet, what I liked from him was his energy—warm and inviting. The total opposite from mine, which was reserved, introverted, and even cold at times. Tommy had shifty eyes, and a very devilish smile.

"Ya te mandaron a break?" he asked.

“Sip,” I answered, stretching and messaging the nape of my neck.

"Que paso Adian?!"

"Ya se me enfrio el cuerpo Tommy.”

"Nombre Adian, no sirves," he responded. We both laughed, just then leaving him behind. I dodged other co-workers as they frolicked to and from the grey carts. I usually do not open the boxes, but instead head over to the isles and recover the merchandise from the grey carts. Today was no different.

"Good morning friend!" a co-worker told me. Mrs. Florence, a lady who has been here forever. She has done it all; cashiering, the floor, receiving, a sales person. She was a short lady, who always had her hair in a pony tail. I could feel her smooth skin as she took hold of my arm in greeting, her genuine smile warming my heart.

"Help me friend. Help me with the comforters, please," she asked me as she dragged me along with her. For a short old lady, strength still flourished within her. All I could do was nod in agreement, then stickering the comforters, quilts, and pillows until eventually we were surrounded.

"Let me put them away friend," she told me. It was funny watching her trying to carry four bed comforters. There huge bundles of cloth huddled into a plastic-cube-like cases. One or two can be quite easy to carry, but once a third or fourth is added—it can be quite heavy.

"Let me help you," I said, taking some comforters and quilts with me. Back and forth we traveled, until at last all the comforters, quills, and pillows were put away.

“C'mon friend, help me put away, porque si no Flores nos va a reganar,” she told me. Again, all I could do is nod in agreement as I strived to catch up to her. In two quick steps we stood before a grey cart and began to pile within our arms as much as we could carry. We traversed the isles, in quick succession emptying out one grey cart after another. Our co-workers passed us as they too recovered the merchandize.

“Go to babies!” Mr. Flores screamed at us, watching us as he stood against the glass railing of the second floor. “To babies.”

“Can’t we finish this?”

“Florensa, terminara lo que resta.”

She and I looked at each other, Mrs. Florence giving me the faintest of nods. I strived to catch up to the others, who were once again frolicking back and forth between the merchandize and the grey carts. The baby’s department was just one pallet, so we finished quickly. They then sent us to Mens, which had only two pallets.

“Que estas haciendo a qui, Adian?” Tommy asked me with an evil grin, looking up at me with an evil glint too. I shook my head and smiled. Ever since we’d met, he has made fun of me, mocked me, and looked at me the way he is now.

“Me mando Flores. Ya terminamos linens y babies,” I answered.

“Bueno Adian, ve a poner. El careton esta lleno.”

I walked towards the grey cart and grabbed the handles, struggling for a few seconds, but at last pried it over the tiled floor. The coming and going customers made it difficult to navigate closer to the men’s sales floor but got close enough. Back and forth I went with as many things I could carry in my arms—underwear, dress shirts, socks, belts, headphones, car stuff, and even wallets.

“Ya mero?” Tommy asked me, appearing out of nowhere.

“Si, voy lo mas pronto que puedo.”

Tommy raised his eye-brow at me and nodded in acknowledgement. Back and forth I went as people began to fill the store, conversations eating away at the silence.

“Sir?”

The customer behind me, a chubby woman who was holding a little boy her arms, while her left hand enclosed the hand of a little girl. The little girl shyly tugged closer to the woman, while the little boy turned away.

“Do you know where the restrooms are?”

“You will keep walking straight ahead, and when you come to an intersection you will turn to your right. The restrooms will be straight ahead,” I responded.

“Gracias,” she told me, then turned around, and tried her best to not bump onto anyone. Barlington’s a shopping place where all kinds of nationalities come and shop to their hearts content. There is jewelry, clothing, home goods and appliances, and even a tailor. Receiving only stays up until eleven in the morning, and that applies to the seven o' clock crew. I am in the five o' clock crew, but in rare moments we are allowed an extra hour or so. Like today.

“Usted trabaja a qui?”

A lady with a shopping cart stood before me. She had highlights in her hair, all dolled up into a pony-tail.

“Me puede ayudar con una camiseta? A mi esposo le quedo un poco larga de los brazos,” she told me, an aqua colored dress shirt draping over her arm.

“Si mam, la puedo introducir al personal que se encarga de ser revisiones a la ropa, pero infortunadamente no esta disponible tan temprano,” I answered. “Pero, puedo lludarle a encontrar otra talla mas adecuada para su esposo?”

“No, gracias joven,” she answered. She turned around and began to skulk through the shirts. “Me espero. Mi esposo esta de terco que quiere esta camiseta.”

“Adian, ya mero?”

I turned around to find Tommy, sweaty and with a serious look on his face.

“Si Tommy, estas son las ultimas camisetas que tengo que poner patras.”

“Que fastidio es esto, vatallando con todo esto. Porque siempre me encargan ustedes cuando me mandan a Men’s,” he said. I tried to sympathize, fist-bumping him on the arm.

“Joven?”

The lady stared at us with such anger and disdain. She had several dress shirts in her left hand and belts hanging over right arm.

“Usted trabaja a qui?”

“Si," Tommy answered.

“Le estoy hablando al muchacho, okay,”she responded.

“Si, trabajo a qui,” I answered, with as much eloquence I could muster. The one reason I chose to work every day at five in the morning; to expose myself to sweat so early in the morning; and to have to deal with my superiors lacking in leadership; is because I did not want to deal with customer service.

“Porque le ponen estas cosas a las camisetas?” she asked, fumbling with the security sensor we put on the back of every dress shirt.

“Son procesos de la compania que nosotros tenemos que implementar.”

“Poliza de la compania…,” Tommy uttered under his breath.

“Hey, she is talking to the fat ass here,” said the gentlemen who had arrived just a few moments ago. Tommy scoot closer to me, his presence a comfortable reprise.

“Horita, la persona encargada de el departamento de entallar no esta disponible. Pero puede ir a preguntarle a una de las cajeras,” I answered.

“Quiero hablar con un manejador, porfavor,” the lady told me. I flinched as the guy pointed at me. He was built; the muscles throughout this forearm flexing.

"I want you to go, and him to stay,” he said, watching Tommy. Tommy had a dark expression on his face as I passed by him, making my way towards the manager's office. The group of people still working on the last pallet, were about to finish. I weaved through the clothing racks, until I turned right onto a hallway. The manager's door was closed, and no light was visible under the door. Damn, she was not here. I then head for the main office, but the door is locked with a sheet of paper taped to the door that read—"Survey in Progress.” Damn! I returned to Tommy, snaking my way through the shoe racks, and weaved through clothing racks of the Men's department.

“Well?” he asked with a smirk on his face.

“Apologies, but the manager is not present at the moment—”

“What?! Why the hell did you not just say so. Wasting our time!” she exclaimed, walking by us. The guy with the clearly-to-tight grey shirt tried to bump into me, but I moved out of the way. Tommy too.

“Por fin, estava comensando a pestar…”

The guy suddenly was in front of me. The contact was immediate; white and black spots clouded my vision. I fell onto my knees, unable to breath. A crowd gathered around the scuffle between the guy and us. Tommy had the advantage, greedily punching the guy on the face.

“Adian, look out!” someone in the crowd exclaimed.

I blocked the ladies kick just in time. She recovered quickly and got the cart next to her. I willed my power to rise; the cart hit the barrier. The lady came at me with a sneer painted on her face, her purse raised at me.

“Kneel…”

The lady exclaimed loudly as she was forced on her knees. The guy threw Tommy off him and came at me. I stood; the stranger fell to his knees. Customers and workers alike were watching us. I released a wave of energy, and in a single whoosh they all fell back, unconscious. Tommy stood.

“Adian, que estas haciendo?” he asked me. I was taken aback at the emotion in his eyes. The guy used that moment to get the better of me. He almost had me with that sneaky upper-cut. Once more he was on his knees. This guy was looking out for blood. He was angry and frustrated at the world for some reason.

“GET-AWAY-FROM-HIM…,” the lady said through clenched teeth. I waved my hand, her eyes rolling back as she lost consciousness.

“M-o-m…” the guy uttered.

“Adian, no se lo que esta pasando, pero para esto. Estoy bien. Tu estas bien, te salvaste,” Tommy told me, walking towards me.

“Adian, por favor, para esto,” resting his hand on my shoulder. I gently lay my hand against his ribs and focused; the bone settled back in place. Tommy looked at himself and then at me in wonder. Before he could react, I reached into his mind and knocked him out. Tommy’s fall was cushioned by my power. The air gently putting him to rest.

“Fa-ggot.”

The guy rose into the air, then violently was slammed against the ground at my behest. I knelt beside Tommy and rummaged through his pockets, pulling out his phone. I could go into his mind and discover his password, but I really didn’t need to. Instead I accessed the 911 feature, putting the phone back into this pocket. I tried my best making my way through the people strewn all over floor, careful not to step on anything. My father was waiting for me in in the parking lot.

“Mucho trabajo hoy,” he asked me when I got in.

“Si, casi mil cajas.”

He pulled out of the parking space and began driving towards the expressway. I looked out the window. A chill these days clung to the valley. This kind of weather was extremely rare in Texas in the middle of April. It was usually hot.

“Me sorprendio que nadie salió hoy a las nueve. Siempre que vengo, están todo los chamacos sentados en el pavimento comiendo y fumando,” my father told me.

"Es que hoy huvo mucho trabajo, father, bastante.”

He nodded, then focusing on the increasing traffic in the expressway. The police will take some time to arrive, and by then everyone should have already woken up. No one will remember anything, and the cameras… were disconnected from the network. So, tomorrow when I go in for work, no one will be the wiser.

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Secrets

My father parked in front of Barlington,

"Y ahora porque las luces estan apagadas?" my father asked as he looked out the wind shield. The front entrance was alit, along with the inside of the store. People could be seen coming and going, yet the parking-lot itself was unusually dark.

"Bueno Father, me voy. Faltan cinco para las cinco y no quiero llegar tarde," I told him as I opened the passenger door.

“Bueno mijo, que te valla bien, y ten cuidado."

I made haste, looking both ways while crossing the street. The manager had been looking at me from afar.

"Good morning," she said when I approached the second tier of doors.

"Good morning Mrs. Alacair."

"Compermiso sir."

I skedaddled out of the way as Mr. Flores, Mrs. Florence, and others walked past me. Mrs. Alacair and I waited for a few seconds; us both a little out of sorts by the sudden appearance of all these people. Mrs. Alacair closed the doors then, when no one else showed up. My Father was astute in his awareness--it was unusually dark in the parking lot.

"Everything okay?" asked Mrs. Alacair. I smiled and nodded, then turned around and moved on.

“Lla mero sir?”

My boss’ passing surprised me. He disappeared into the manager’s office, as I punched-in.

“Sip,” I answered.

“Marcha a la linia, sir,” he told me from afar. Quickly, I went to leave my lunch at the break room. On my way out, Mrs. Florence and Mrs. Eluid were coming towards me, pushing and pulling blue bins. I took two off their hands and left the other two with them. Back and forth we went, as we prepared the floor for the incoming truck. After everything was set up, Christian, me, Mr. Flores, and other co-workers of mine all huddled around the conveyor belt. We waited patiently for a while, until Mrs. Vega came trotting past us.

"David, horita no va llegar el camion. Manda todos a poner la ropa," she commanded. David looked at Christian, a skinny fellow with tattoos on his right hand, and all throughout his arm. He had a small mustache that pared well with his very short hair.

"Christian, go help Mrs. Alcair bajar the rolling racks," David commanded Christian.

“Adian, Florence, Eluid, go together and begin to recover the processed clothing.”

We looked at each other, then nodded in silent agreement of our team-work. We walked over to the elevator and I pressed the button on the panel, as Mrs. Eliud and Mrs. Florence "discussed” who got to go to the second floor.The elevator doors silently opened. Mrs. Eluid gently shoved Florence out of the way and walked in. Mrs. Florence had this smile as she turned to look at me, while Mrs. Eluid chuckled evilly while pressing a button on the panel. The elevator door's closed, strange noises and clanks sounding off as it traveled up. A bing sounded off then, and then the metal clanked as we listened to Mrs. Eluid struggle to load the fully loaded racks onto the elevator. A disturbing silence, and then the elevator’s doors opened, Mrs. Eluid squeezing through the rolling-racks to meet us.

We helped Mrs. Eluid roll out the racks as Mrs. Delamaris began to line them in their corresponding department. While we did that, others began to recover the clothing. Checking my phone constantly almost drove me insane, until around six-thirty in the morning, the truck came.

"Delamaris! Adian! Frolenca! Everyone to the conveyor belt!"

Quickly we recovered the last rolling-rack of clothing, then headed to the conveyer belt. Mrs. Delamaris and Mrs. Florence, along with others, positioned themselves accordingly. I went towards the parked pallet and began to cut the wrapper. Tommy stood close to me and scanned the boxes I fed the belt.

"Adian, comiensa abrir cajas. Tommy puede solo," Mr. Flores said in passing. He stood at the end of the belt. I couldn’t refuse, quickly getting into position and began opening the boxes. As a team we sorted the clothing, toys, and accessories belonging to said department. Before long, people were at the entrance, and the first rays of the sun pierced the morning’s darkness.

"Push!"exclaimed Tommy. Everyone took a step back from the belt, as Tommy pushed the boxes forward. He scurried back to the pallet and began to unwrap it.

The seven o' clock crew gradually joined us. I watched with fascination twenty-five people finish 22 pallets (700 boxes) in about an hour. I had been working here for more than a year, and never experienced that before.

"Adian, Delamaris, Eluid, Florence, go to break," commanded David. They wasted no time going for the break room. I stayed behind a little while longer and helped the rest of the crew clean up.

“Adian, ya, go to break,” said Mr. Flores. I had just loaded the last of the rolling-racks onto the elevator.

“Okay,” I said. Upon entering the break-room, Mrs. Florence and Mrs. Eluid were sitting together, while Mrs. Delamaris was sitting across from them on the other table. I made myself comfortable next to Delamaris and took out my phone. The timer on my phone showed ten minutes left, when the others came in. I took out my headphones and plugged the headphone jack into my phone, pressing the "play" button. The song "Chandelier" deterred much of the rising conversation taking place, but just as quickly my break ended. I was on my way out, when Flores passed by.

"Sir, go to Linens!"

When I arrived, I began to recover the merchandise from the grey carts. My co-workers offered their good-morning’s and hello’s, as we worked together to process the merchandise. In about an hour or so we finished Linens and moved on the children’s department.

"At what time do you leave, Adian," Gaby asked me. We both had grabbed a box of socks to put away but were not finding any space on the wall. Clarissa was standing a few feet to our left, trying her best to reach something on the wall. She was short woman with highlights in her long hair.

"At...," I reached into my pocket and took out my phone, looking around to check that no one was looking. "Actually, in five minutes."

This was one of my favorite things of recovering the processed merchandise. It felt like time passed so fast.

"Lucky," she responded, laughing along with me.

"Five o' clock crew, your time is up. Go home!" Mr. Flores yelled out as he walked by the department.

"Do not leave me Adian," exclaimed Gaby, her pudgy frame a delicate hourglass. She had freckles on her face, and her hair (with highlights) was always arranged in a bund.

"It has been a long week. With finals week finally over, and just having completed the last assignments… I am free! It is Friday and I am so ready for the weekend. For the summer!"

"Right!" she exclaimed. "Enjoy your weekend Adian. Rest!"

Mrs. Eluid and Mrs. Florence walked into the break room after clocking out, both smiling at me as I walked by. The punch-in/out machine beeped when I swiped my card. My name appeared in the small rectangular screen, and then disappeared. I made my way towards the entrance, going through the aisles of men suits in the Men's department.

"Are you the only one heading out, Adian," asked one of the managers. I couldn’t remember her name, ever. More so, because I rarely ever got to see her or interact with her. She was wearing gray pants, and a black dressy long sleeve shirt. On some occasions, when the cash registers were opening, I’d see her around the area.

"Yes."

She leaned in as she unlocked the front entrance.

"See you next week Adian."

“Good-luck with corporate today,” I said. "See you next week."

The rising heat of the slowly ascending sun dispelled the chill upon me. My father’s car was parked close by. He was inclined on the driver’s seat, asleep. As quietly as I could, unlocked the passenger’s door. He woke up, startled by the squeak the door made.

"Hola, Father."

"Hola campion. Como te fue hoy?" he asked sheepishly. My father was in his late fifties, with straight hair that now in days was grayer than his natural black color. Unlike in the photos laying around the house, of a young skinny version of my father. Now, he was much stronger and bigger, but his constant drinking left him with a bear belly.

"Father, me llevas a Eddie's?," I asked him. We drove out of the parking-lot and headed for the expressway. Eddies is a taco place that I go to almost every day. Their "carne guisada" tacos are one of my favorites.

“Sip,” he answered. Now, personally I am not a man of many words, but my father on the other hand. Those fifteen minutes were like an hour as he rambled on about his golden years. He liked to talk about his father (now past); the ranch; his large family. In time we arrived.

“I’ll be back.”

“Sip,” he answered. At this hour, the local was usually not busy. The man in the electric wheel-chair mumbled something, refusing to buy what he was selling.

“Good-morning,” said the attendant, with an accent.

“Buenos dias.”

“Que quiere hoy?”

“Me da dos tacos de carne guisada, por-favor.”

“De harina?” he asked.

“Si,” I answered. The very tall man gave me my order, written on a flimsy paper. Two lines had formed at the front desk. The men worked diligently to offer their best service.

“Hola!” exclaimed the man. My turn to be charged.

“Hola. Como esta?”

“Bien. Todavia trabajas en Barlington?”

“Si,” I answered.

“Que bueno. Ya llevas que, dos anos?”

“Tres.”

“Mira. Va ser nieve con diez centavos.”

The short man, who was wearing a cap with their business logo on the front, took my card. Quickly the machine dispensed my receipt.

“Que tengas buen dia. Regresa,” he told me.

The person waiting in line behind me took my place. I went to go take a seat at the very shabby bar they had in there. The local was dead when I arrived, but now was bustling with people. The TVs were drowned out by the conversations happening; the attendants shouting the order’s numbers.

"Numero treinta y ocho!"

I raised my hand, getting off the seat. The same man who had charged me gave me my tacos.

"Gracias," I tell the man. He nodded as he smiled. My father had parked at the very edge of the parking-lot, close to the road.

“Vamanos,” my father said, while I got in the car. In less than five minutes we arrived at our house. The dogs barked; the old front gate barely able to reign in their excitement. We struggled and fought to get in as all seven vied for our attention. I approached the front door, with the hopes my Father left it unlocked. The turn of the knob fulfilled my greatest wish at the moment. My Father opened the back door of his truck; an old gray jimmy parked under the chest nut tree at the center of our property. The dogs were so excited, as the sounds of the dog-food hitting the bottom of the pan sounded off. They whined and cried, circling him as he guided them towards the usual spot. Merlin feverishly scratched the door as I approached, also crying and whining to be let out. The poodle barged out, greeting me, as we walked into my room. He followed along, his tail wagging furiously while I got stuff out of my pockets. I placed the bag on my computer desk.

“How are you Merlin?”

He barked his response. I took my time undressing, going to the restroom, until at last was able to sit down. The monitor came to life; the operating system asking for a password. Once more Merlin barked for my attention, climbing onto my thigh, his tail wagging.

“I’m going to eat,” I told him. The room’s dog scent was replaced with that of tacos. I took my time with both, but in all that time, never was able to choose something to watch. My dog was patient, but not that patient. On the last bite of the second taco, he became insistent I give some.

“No.”

I ignored his barking and finished my food. Merlin followed me as I lay down, finding his spot next to me. He rested his head on the pillow, as I rested mine. The room was silent. The world around me began to fade, and the last thing I was conscious of was my phone receiving a notification.

***

My phone sounding off in the distance with received messages was what woke me. Merlin was right in front of me, with a mischievous twinkle in his eyes and his tail wagging wildly.

“Merlin. Merlin, I’m awake,” I said, when he began to lick my face earnestly. A soft light bled from the edge of the pillow next to me. I had several messages from an unknown number.

“Porque nadie recuerda que paso el día anterior, Adian?”

“Adian, estas allí?”

“Adian, eres humano?”

“Adian?”

“Adian, si este es tu telefono, responde!”

“Adian?”

“Adian, estas allí?”

“Estas ignorando estos mensajes?”

I was so sure I had erased the memories of all the people present in the store. The cameras were not functioning properly.

“Hello?”I wrote.

“No dire nada.”

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Loneliness

I had a normal childhood. As normal as it was going to get for a chubby seven-year-old, who lived in a neighborhood with gangsters and thief. Many of my neighbors were also my classmates. 

“Hello Adian.”

Among all the strangeness, I still got to experience friends. One of them, a skinny fellow who lived right next to me. His name was Eduardo. We played almost every day. It was around third grade the he moved, and since then I have only seen him once. It was awkward.

“Hey,” I responded to the stranger’s text.

My second best-friend, whose name now I cannot remember, visited his grandmother. She lived next to me too, and it was through my mother that we met. We were both about the same age. Yet, like Eduardo, he too just one day never came back. 

I became aware of my abilities around this time. When either of my two best friends would visit, we constantly played outside. A scratch here. A bruise. My wounds would heal almost instantly. It became even more evident to me that I was different, when my friend-enemy would visit. Steph, she was such a bully. I remember how she would throw rocks, and cuss at me. A scratch here, or a bruise yet again. I would notice that they would heal almost instantly.

“You’re cute,” replied the stranger.

Throughout middle-school and high school, were the years that I began to understand that being different was not wrong or right. I had powers. In middle-school, I began to see the future; the past. Then came the thoughts of others and feeling other people's emotions. I could be in the center of the room and know everything about everyone around me. 

“Thank-you. How are you?”

“La tengo bien dura,” responded the stranger. It was a person through an app called blander.

“La tengo bien dura, Adian.”

It was in high school when I discovered I could move things with my mind. When I learned how to fly. My healing rate also increased. My strength doubled, tripled, until at some point I had to learn to seal that part of my power. The power to see into the future and the past also had to be sealed away. On the eve of my graduation date, teachers and other paraprofessionals began to steer us towards college.I honestly just wanted to get high school over with. The only thing that was enjoyable, were my friends. Yet something unexpected happened as graduation came closer. My power invigorated me. To heal, move things with the mind, listen to someone else's thoughts, feel their emotions, super-strength, and even see the strands of time. I felt omnipotent. The seals I had created became unnecessary.

I began to attend college in the Fall at South Tarian Institute after high-school. A small community college. A couple of my friends went to TUTRG (The University Trial Ray Grand). Others were engulfed by their adult lives and got married, had kids, lost themselves into their work. The few who went out to other cities and states for college, eventually came back home to the valley.At some point I took enough classes, earned enough credits, and graduated from TUTRG. The college held a ceremony honoring the graduates. I attended, along my family. Everyone else was happy and excited in completing this milestone, but I was neither. I was left with more questions, more so about my powers. Over the past few weeks, I had woken up floating in my bed, bathed in a translucent white light.

Life after college was strange. Everything changed, and more so as my power continued to evolve. The most impactful was the sudden loneliness. Everyone was getting married, having kids, or moving to better and "greener" pastures. I was constantly busy. I had to constantly seclude myself because of my powers—they were unpredictable at times. Some days were painfully lonely, and others felt that.

“Hola Adian.”

It was that person. The one who supposedly knew my secret. I swiped my finger over the notification window that displayed on my screen. The message application opened.

“Que ases?”

The last two days, I had been playing the events of Friday morning repeatedly in my head. I left no evidence, having erased the events of that day from everyone present in that store. The cameras were not functioning properly that day either. 

“Que quieres de mi? Sabiendo de que soy capaz, todavía quieres tener una conversación con migo, como si yo fuera una persona normal,” I messaged back.

“Porque no? Cuando realize que estaba pasando, y cuando pude superar el terror que sentía, no pude encontrar una razon por odiarte. Yo no sabia nada de ti. Que quiero de ti? Yo quiero conocerte. Yo quiero saber un poco de ti, vivir un poco de tu vida, y saber que es sentir aver conocido algo como tu,” the stranger texted back.

“Toma en cuenta que yo puedo descubrir quien eres. No tengo que ser ningun movimiento. Lo único que tengo que hacer es desear saber, desear ver tu cara.”

“Quisiera que respetes mi decisión de no desirle a nadie de tu existencia. Que respetes que yo te contacte en secreto, porque todavía no estoy comfortable de saber que existe alguien que puede decidir mi vida en nomas de pensarlo.”

I have never killed anyone or hurt another life form.

“Porque debería darte el beneficio de tus secretos, cuando yo ya no tengo el beneficio de mis secretos?”

The bubble appeared, and then the text came.

“No me as dado razón a mi en revelar tus secretos. Por de mas, necesitaria evidencia de tus poderes. Mi palabra no vale nada sin eso. Como me acabas de decir, con tus poderes puedes darte cuenta quien soy, y borrar de mi mente tu secreto.”

“Sabiendo que yo puedo darme cuenta de tu identidad, y borrar de tu memoria mi secreto, todavía quieres saber mas de mi?” I responded.

“Si.”

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An Accident

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Another Incident

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To Befriend and Love a Stranger

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Unexpected Contact

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Tommy’s Judgment

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The Director’s Visit

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