The Troubled Gift

By Silent Writer

I always knew there was something special about me. Well I can’t really call it special but I was convinced there was something peculiar around me or inside of me, I should say. I knew how and when people would die. I could clearly read thoughts and I knew people I was not supposed to or was not expected to know. The worst part of this was the ability to feel any emotions someone near me was feeling. I loved a bit too hard and I cried a bit too much. I believed everyone did this.

Look, I could talk to people who had long left this planet. It started as a sudden urge to spend time in the park that wasn’t so far away from the grave. I felt a sense of peace when I got to the park. A type of peace I had never felt in the 8 years I had lived. I met several people there. Men and women would appear behind me, smile, and sit beside me. Where they came from and how they got there didn’t bother me at all. All day long, they’d tell me about how they left mother earth. They told me of the things they had wished to achieve before their fate met them. Some of them wished they’d be granted a second chance to physically meet their loved ones and tell them one last time, “I love you.” For some, all they wanted to know was how their dog was doing or if their garden was still thriving.

I didn’t find much amusement in sharing this part of my life with people who thought the park was empty. The few times I told people it was going to rain in exactly 13 days’ time at 1300 hours, they thought it was all fiction. Not that I blame them for thinking it was made up. I would think the same if this was coming from an 8-year-old child who barely knew how to put on their shoes correctly. The very same child who couldn’t differentiate between red and orange. What could such a person possibly tell me about the future?

But they were amazed when the events I told them came to pass in the exact way I described. Irony or coincidence? I also didn’t know, I was barely a teenager by that time. All I wanted was to play football in the streets with my friends. The older I got, the heavier this “thing” became for me. I was always first in class because I would see the papers beforehand. Yes, someone would bring me the exam paper two or three days before with the answer script as well, who was I to say no? How could I possibly say no to a messenger dressed in gold and silver, whose presence brought great peace and calmness around me as they handed over the exam paper. They never showed their face or gender. “I wish you well” was the only thing this divine creature said before leaving my sight.

At some point, people in my village started to think I used magic to attain this academic excellence. I preferred that they believed this theory as I had no time to explain the happenings in my day to day life to them. Did I also mention that this “thing” came with great power and boldness? I wasn’t afraid to talk or stand up for myself, it scared me! Having grown up In a village setting, approaching the King or his Palace was a death wish. Here I was, boldly approaching the King’s quarters to tell him that I had a message from the higher realms for him, informing him of the fast-approaching wars or of the floods that would destroy the lands if the gods were not appeased in time to forgive the wrongdoings of the people in the village.

I could tell whose funeral we’d attend next in the community months before it transpired. Did I want to see this? NO! What were the results? I became an outcast. An enemy. No one could stand my presence. Everyone dreaded me. I couldn’t blame them though, I mean why would you tolerate someone who could casually tell you that you’re going to drown in a well exactly 8 hours from that time, or on a good day, how you’re going to give birth to triplets? All I needed to do was take a single glance at someone, any person really. In that instance I would still be “human,” breathing, laughing, talking or even sleeping, but I’d experience an out-of-body sensation in which my spirit left my body and took me into that particular person’s life. Without any struggle, I could see their future and past. How this transpired, I still wish I knew.

The community wanted me out of the village. They carefully planned my demise.

It was a sunny Saturday and as usual my friends and I went to the forest to hunt. There was a small lake where we’d go for a quick swim. We met two adults who asked us to escort them to the lake, as they were not familiar with the road. The two men had cameras, my favorite new gadget. They asked to get a picture of me. I posed to my own death. It wasn’t a camera they were holding, and just like that they disappeared into the thick forests.

All I could remember was waking up somewhere peaceful. A type of peace that even sleep couldn’t give me. There was laughter around me. Girls and boys dancing to drum beats, young children playing football. Old women cooking and the men, smoking. An elderly woman who strikingly looked like my grandmother.

The elderly woman gave me a warm embrace, one that calmed all my fears and
uncertainties of where I was and how I got there. She asked me what I was doing there so early. I couldn’t answer her. The lady smiled at me and said it wasn’t time yet for me to join her.

In that instant, I woke up to a burning pain in my shoulder. A man dressed in white smiled and welcomed me back to what he called “earth.” Women and men in white surrounded me. They spoke in a language I could not understand clearly. They looked at me with worry. I could not move much from where I was lying. I was trying to figure where exactly I was and, mostly, which version of myself. Was I human or divine? I felt touches on my body and that probably meant I was human. Being normal human saddened me a bit. If I had lost my special powers, it would mean I lost my identity. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to live in that emptiness that surrounded me when I was a normal human.

Uncertainty of what the future held stole away all of my joy.




4 July, 2023