I sat in the doctor’s office, digging my toes into the fluffy grass-looking carpet and partially watching my lil’ brother to make sure he didn’t eat anything. My maternal daddy was up at the desk, asking to make sure everything was ok since the doctor was runnin’ late and his girl needed to see the doctor as soon as possible.
I bit my bottom lip and turned to look at the TV, watching the images flash by. It had been a couple months since I passed out and things weren’t gettin’ any better. I sometimes blacked out, waking up on the floor to see the frightened faces leaning over me. One time I even blacked out in school and oh that was awful. When I got back, all the kids were laughing and teasing.
I was startled out of the TV images and turned to see some boy I didn’t know standin’ there with this real goofy look on his face. I wondered what he was doing here. This was the office of an expert in child neurology. Supposedly the best despite his age (my mom’s age, from what I heard), which was why my daddies put me up for this appointment. Guess he needed somethin’ like I did.
“Hi,” I said, as the boy sat down next to me. I felt real embarrassed by him seeing me here, but I had no clue who he was so with any luck he wasn’t in my school.
“My name’s Henri,” he said, swinging his legs and smiling at me. “What’s yours?”
I looked down at my lap. “Serenity…” I quickly looked over at Mal who was playing with some blocks. Not eatin’ them, thankfully. Who knew what sorta germs were on those toys. I wouldn’t touch’m with a ten foot pole.
“That your dad?” He indicated my maternal daddy, still at the desk. Mom was very annoyed since we were now forty minutes into our appointment time and if it took up much time then I dunno what we’d do, since all the others would be gettin’ home from school soon. Normally Duncan could watch’m all cause he was almost fourteen, but he had to deliver some papers for one of his teachers.
“That’s my mom,” I said, and stuck my chin out looking as stubborn as I could. I waited for the usual response. That look of disbelief. That look of weirdness. Okay, so usually it was adults that gave that look but kids also thought it was weird I had two daddies. And if he said anything about a boy being my mom, then I would just have to slug him.
“Your dad’s a guy, too?” he asked which took me by surprise.
“Yes.” I stuck my chin out even more.
“Lucky,” he said and I squinted at him. “My mom’s dead. You’re lucky to have two parents.” And there was that drip-drip-drip of sadness coming from him. I had realized, over the past couple’a months, that feelings were like weather inside me. And I also saw he was sticking out his chin like I was. That stubborn look.
The dripping feeling was real fresh too, and I knew that his mom musta died recently. “I’m sorry,” I said.
Now it was his turn to squint at me. “Are you new in town? Cuz I haven’t seen you at my school. I would have remembered hair like that.”
“Well I woulda remembered hair like yours so obviously we go to diff’rent schools!” I snapped, pulling back and reaching up to touch my hair defensively.
“You probably would and we probably do,” he replied with a grin. “My mama had hair like this. How about you?”
“My great-grandma,” I answered, still suspicious of him. “My aunt has it, too.” I looked over now as my mom was heading back. “What’s going on, Mom?” I asked and then felt a rush of rain of sadness from Henri, from me saying that word. I regretted it but it was too late now. I wanted to apologize, but when I turned to look I saw he was getting up and leavin’, heading to the bathroom.
“She says Doctor Laroche will be soon…” He slumped down and sighed. “I’m going to go call your Aunt Julie, watch Mal carefully.” He rubbed my head and walked out of the office to make the call.
I stood up and took a few steps closer to Mal who looked up at me. “My blocks!” he wailed, hitting the table. “Mine!”
“Yeah, yours,” I said, putting my hands on my hips and looking around for that boy. I felt around for him, for that rain of sadness, but couldn’t find it. Odd. I pushed my thoughts out in a wider range but still nothin’, and Mal was eating a block so I had to stop feeling and try to get the block outta my brother’s mouth.
Doctor Laroche was awful. I hated bein’ in the same room as him, he was so arrogant! I felt pretty much smothered in his arrogance and I tried to put a little bit of a barrier up around my abilities but it wasn’t workin’ well, probably cause I was so tired from the day before when I really put my barriers up. It took a bit outta me.
He hmmmed and hrrrrmmed a lot and then pretty much told us what he could‘a told us over the phone! That from what he saw of all my scans and stuff… I was perfectly healthy.
“But–she’s blacking out,” Mom said, narrowing his eyes.
Doctor Laroche hmmmmed and aaaahhhed a bit, then began askin’ me questions about when I faint, like if I was standin’ for a while or if I hadn’t eaten. I scowled up at him and all his arrogance and told him no, to everything. He wanted to reschedule me for some more scans and I felt really angry about that.
“I’ve had scans!” I snarled. “I’ve had lotsa scans and you saw them all! Do you have a magic scan that will tell you what other scans don’t?”
He glowered at me and I could feel his disapproval. But I also felt my maternal daddy feeling proud, even though he said, “Excuse her, Doctor. She’s been through a lot. This fainting thing has us all worried.”
“I understand,” he said, although I could feel that he didn’t. And he didn’t care. That really made me seethe. “But there are a lot of tests that have not been administered. I’d like you to schedule her for an electrocardiogram, with the local hospital–I will send a referral…” He started goin’ on about tests and stuff, and Mom just kept noddin’ and asking questions and I just wanted out of there.
I was beginning to suspect why I was blackin’ out but I didn’t wanna tell anyone, but with all this talk of scans and stuff I wondered if I should… But looking at my mom, it frightened me to think of mentioning that. How could I tell him that it was cause of my strange powers? Powers I got from the guy that hurt him so bad?
But, I thought as Mom and Doctor Laroche shook hands, I don’t want’em to be spending so much money on me. This is expensive. Not that we weren’t exactly hurtin’ for money. Daddy was the president of a company and Mom had just published a mystery novel several months ago that was a best-seller (and he had just sent off another book). But the money was better off goin’ towards college funds and stuff.
I knew in my heart I needed to tell my daddies. At least… a little bit.
Okay, so I chickened out, completely chickened out. When I told’em I wanted to talk to them and just stood there staring up at them, I got so scared. But they stood there waitin’ for me to say what it is I wanted to say so finally I blurted out, “I want to go see Ducky!”
So here I was, at the stables. Ducky was nosing at my hand waitin’ for more treats. I just smiled and ran my fingers through her silky mane. Then I buried my face against it, sighing. I liked animals, especially horses. Whatever abilities I had didn’t reach into the animal mind. That is to say… I knew animals had feelins’ like I could tell Ducky was happy when she pranced around and twisted her head a certain way, or when Calliope, our cat, was in a bad mood by the glares she gave us.
But my powers didn’t go into their minds. I just had body language to go off of. Like anyone should. “I love you,” I murmured, rubbing my face against the horse’s neck. Ducky whinnied and nosed me again. I giggled in response.
We were all surprised when Dad brought Mom home and had a horse with him. We all wanted to keep’m except River who was a bit afraid (but she was just five at the time now that she’s six, she’s more used to’m) but Dad wasn’t. We didn’t have room. But there was a stable recently built in town and he wasn’t going to let us keep Ducky but we begged and begged, and finally they gave in. So now we had a little stall at the stable, and Ducky was ours. Mine, I thought, stepping back to give the horse another treat. Since for the past seven months I was the only one who came out regular-like.
When I grew up I wanted to take this horse with me. I wanted to get some place on the outskirts of town and have Ducky there with me and maybe another horse, to keep’er company. Other than that, I didn’t know what I wanted when I got older. I was scared of my abilities to take a job anywhere and if I kept blackin’ out like this then I probably wouldn’t be able to anyway.
“I wish I could go back in time,” I said, looking up at the big horse. “Before all this.” Before my woman-ness came on me and dragged me into puberty and made my stupid abilities change. “I don’t want to grow up…” I wrapped my arms around Ducky’s body again and held tight, tears springin’ up and soaking into her fur as she reached down and nuzzled me back.