So, boys…..they have a way of distracting a young girl, and making her forget even the most intrusive visitor and disembodied voice. I had boyfriends, but innocently enough in grade school. Now that socializing was becoming important, so was fitting in. Ignoring the guy standing on the corner, with half his head missing and continually looking for a place to sit down, as I walked home from school, became much more important. People were starting to watch to see if I was “cool” or not, though in the 6th grade nobody was actually cool; I mean…it was the 80’s.
I started doing what the other kids did; I had boyfriends, I pretended to care about fashion and makeup, started a diary, and bought magazines full of teen idols. Say whatever you want, Ralph Macchio was cute.
Anyway, my home life was a little rocky as my parents headed towards divorce. My Great Grampa (who had passed away years before) kept speaking into my Dad’s ear, which influenced his behaviour quite a bit. I think my Dad may have a bit of what I have, but I’ve never asked; my Mom once told me that my Dad drank to quiet the voices, and it scared her (as if I needed another entry on the list of reasons not to discuss this with my parents).
My Mom also said that my Nan, my Dad’s Mom, agreed with her, which makes me wonder yet again if my gift is a paternal inheritance.
My Great Grampa saw me, and he seemed to know that I could see him, but I was not who he came to see; he was a force when he was alive, and even more so in spirit. He now appeared able bodied and younger than my eyes had seen him in life.
I wanted to intercede, to speak up and put an end to his destructive influence, but how do you argue with or tell off someone you are brought up to respect? There was the healthy fear of your elders that was instilled and common back then, not like the disrespect that seems to run rampant with kids now. This was a man who survived WWI, coming home with one lung because of grenade shrapnel. I could do nothing to dissuade this man from doing anything he wanted to do.
In life he told me I was his favourite, and I loved him; this situation caused a great deal of conflict in my heart, and so I began to ignore him, and I put forward an earnest effort shut out the rest of them too. I very badly wanted to fit in and be the same as the kids around me, the kids who seemed to have no real cares in the world, except what to wear the next day and if their hair was “right”.
The divorce of my parents arrived as we all knew it would; sometimes love is not enough and it comes to a point when two people change too much to live together any longer. At 12, I knew this and it aged me. I had gotten very good at blocking out the visitors by the time my Mom, sister and I moved out of our old home, into a new townhouse that had never had any other people living it.
It was…quiet; to me it was eerily quiet.
By this point I had already had a serious boyfriend (at least it seemed serious to my 13 year old sense of romance), and apparently I was one of the “cool” girls, which meant that by the end of the 8th grade I had a few boys looking for my attention. I had achieved my social goals and I was happy; I had lots of friends, but unfortunately when I was by myself I didn’t feel quite like me.
I whiled away the summer before high school in relatively careless bliss, though my nerves grew raw in the days before my 9th grade school year began. High school meant a whole new world for me, a time of unfamiliar surroundings and people, and the possibility of new “visitors” too.
The world began to have that urgency to it that only your teen years carry, and I was ripe with new thoughts and concerns for the coming year. I had always felt older than the friends around me, but still had the naiveté that 13 and 14 year olds intermittently have.
My concerns were sometimes valid, as the term “gummer” was applied to all grade 9 students, but I got a lot of attention from the boys as well…and it all balanced out in the end. My steady boyfriend from middle school turned out to be a jerk once we got to high school, and we broke up. That was alright by me though; I had turned a corner and had nearly a full year in high school under my belt. I hung out with a few other “suitors” and was pursued by one or two others, but that all ended one day in April.
I had been struck dumb, when I walked down the Math wing and there stood the ONE. My life from this point on would be guided by my growing love for someone whom the fates had been pushing me to since before my “gift” was realised.