I threw myself onto the bed, fuming. “I think we’ve had this talk before!” my mom shouted from downstairs.
“So what?!” I yelled back.
“With that attitude, don’t bother coming down for dinner!” she returned. I didn’t answer.
I sat on my bed, remembering when I was small, about five. My mother and I were in a restaurant. She had just ordered a plate of hamburger and fries. I saw the waitress come out of the kitchen, holding the hamburger and fries. I kicked my legs and clapped my hands together happily. But instead of bringing the food to our table, the waitress took out her phone, set the plate down on the cashier’s table, and began to munch on the fries. I stopped moving in surprise. Although I was very young, I knew that the food was our food, and the waitress was not supposed to eat it. Next, after she had eaten, the waitress set down her phone, picked up the plate, and came over to our table. “Here are your berger and fries, fresh out of the kitchen!” she said. Fresh from being eaten, I added silently. After the waitress left, I said “Mommy, that lady was eating our fries!” My mother didn’t even look up from her notebook. I tapped her insistently on the shoulder. “Mommy…” I started.
“Stop it!” she said angrily, “Can’t you see I’m busy?!” I burst into tears.
“Mommy! The waiter ate our fries!” I wailed.
“Where?!” she demanded.
“She was eating them at the cashier’s desk!” I said
“The cashier’s desk isn’t even in this room!” my mom said very loudly.
“But she ate them!” I said.
“Shut up! Stop lying!” she said. The people around us were beginning to stare. I cried harder. Why wouldn’t she listen?! Then, in one swift movement, she picked me up, snatched her purse, and stormed out of the restaurant, dropping a ten dollar bill on the table. Outside, she rounded on me. “What is wrong with you?!” she nearly screamed. Without waiting for the answer, she turned on her heel, and stalked off towards the car. I trailed along behind her.
“Sorry mommy.” I said in a small voice. But the only reply was the sharp clicking of her heels on the pavement.
I heard the slamming of cupboard doors downstairs as my mom began to prepare dinner. The event that had happened so long ago was fresh in my memory, like it had happened yesterday. I had had exceptional vision for as long as I could remember. I could see things that no one else seemed to see. I could see through walls; I could see miniscule ants in a tree 10 blocks away, I could see anything, if only I focused. That might seem like a good thing, but what was the use? My mother thought I was a liar, my father had been away on a business trip for 3 years, and I had no friends. I walked over to the beanbag and flopped down. I could see every individual bean inside the bag move. If only she could see what I can see, I thought, throwing a stuffed animal across the room. Then she wouldn’t hate me; then she would understand. Everything would be different. Downstairs, the noises stopped and as I concentrated, I could see everything that was going on, crystal clear. I saw my mother sitting down and sighing, reaching for her cup of water. She looked old and tired. I blocked out the image.
The next week, my mother invited her friends over for a dinner party. The house was decorated in a Christmas theme. There were lights and stockings everywhere, and the tree was lighted too! “Don’t you dare mess up this party for me,” my mother hissed as she did her hair up.
“Yes, I will be sitting here quietly, making no noise and pretending I don’t exist,” I said dully, in a practiced voice. The guests arrived. Things were going quite well. The guests were good natured, the food was delicious, and my mother was in her element. True to my word, I kept quiet. Everything was going fine until I heard a sound upstairs. I stopped spooning food into my mouth. I looked up. I looked through the floor. Upstairs, I saw a figure all dressed in black, wearing a ski mask rummaging through my mother’s room. I stood up. “Mom,” I said urgently, “there’s someone up there.” I saw my mother’s eyes flash angrily.
“Don’t lie.” she hissed through gritted teeth. Her friends were looking at us, confused. “But – ” I said.
“No buts, sit down NOW!” she said. Without a choice, I sank reluctantly into my chair, clutching my napkin angrily. The noises continued. Suddenly there was quite a loud crash. Everyone looked up. “What was that?” asked my mom. I stood up from my chair. I sprinted up the stairs, the guests and Mom close behind me. The clatter of many heels followed me. We reached the room just as the intruder slung his black pack over his shoulder. At the sound of our footsteps, he turned in surprise. Even though he was wearing a ski mask, I could see through it. His face was light-skinned, he had a snub nose and orange hair.
“STOP!” I yelled. He scrambled towards the window and disappeared from sight. I ran over to the window while my mom dialed the police. I saw a rope, coiled around one of the bedposts, dangling to the ground. The thief was nowhere in sight. Within minutes, the wailing of police cars escalated. I heard a swapping sound and looked up. A helicopter shape was silhouetted by the setting sun. Wow, a helicopter! I thought. The helicopter descended slowly until it was just hovering above the ground. I thundered down the steps again with everyone close behind me. I threw open the door and ran outside. A man dressed in dark clothes holding a weapon jumped out.
“Is this the house that was robbed?” he asked in a gruff voice. My mother nodded, too flustered to speak.
“Did anyone see the robber’s face?” he demanded.
“I did.” I said in a small voice.
“Then you’ll have to come with us.” he said to me, looking at my mother apologetically.
“Go on with them.” my mother said, smiling at me for the first time I could remember. I hugged her tight. Then I turned and climbed into the helicopter. The noise was deafening. The helicopter rose into the air and, as I leaned out, I could see the shapes of my mother and my house getting smaller and smaller.
I settled back into my seat. Wow, a lot has happened tonight, I thought. The helicopter was pursuing the thief, who seemed to have stolen a car. The police were tracking his car. After a while, I heard the radio say “Criminal’s car is parked outside the mall, criminal is inside. Helicopter approaching target.” The helicopter descended again and we jumped out.
“He’s in there,” the guard said, pointing towards the mall. “Do you think you can recognize him?” The officer asked. I nodded. I started into the mall. It was nearly Christmas time and the mall was crowded with last minute shoppers. I walked in, and started looking. I saw many faces, some big, some small, some excited, some worried. It was not long before I found a familiar face, the one with the snub nose and orange hair. I concentrated harder. He had tried to blend in as part of the Christmas parade by wearing the beard of a Santa Claus.
“He’s over there!” I pointed. The police immediately charged in that direction. I ran after them. I wove my way through the crowd. In front of me, there was a scuffle and a few screams. The thief saw us coming and tried to run, but was captured quickly.
“Good job, kid.” said the officer quietly.
When I returned home, tired and sweaty, I opened the door to be strangled by a hug from my mother. “What – ?” I managed.
“You are so special.” she said. “Knowing it and seeing it are two different things.”