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Ever Since I Met You

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1983

“The DIY Queen reigns supreme!!!” Courtney yelled, holding up my origami swan. I have always been decent at crafting. I have a knack for it, I think. If there are directions, I can usually master it quickly. I blushed, not used to the attention of the “Teases” as they were known.

“Uh, thanks Courtney” I managed, feeling my ears heat up. One girl rolled her eyes, and I quickly pulled my hand down from where Courtney was still holding it up. It’s not that cool, honestly, I thought. “Well, I should probably get back home! Tons of chores to do, you know?” Courtney looked downcast as I got up to leave, “I promise I’ll come by for another craft night okay! I swear!” I grabbed my bag and headed out as fast as I could.

“Wait—your swan!” A girl whose name I couldn’t remember for the life of me tapped me on the shoulder and handed me the pink swan I made earlier.

“Oh, thank you… I forgot,” I smiled at her and closed the door behind me. Sigh. The Teases (named for their “amazing” hair) were exhausting to hang out with. Their conversations moved far too quickly for me to keep up with, and I always felt judged around them. I was only there because Courtney thought it would be a great way to get out of my comfort zone of late nights watching The Mary Tyler Moore Show. I walked home, counting steps and trying to avoid the weird guy who always hangs out on the corner of Park Avenue near my apartment building.

I wasn’t lonely by any means. Courtney was a great friend, and I knew a bunch of other kids through the volunteering club at school. The issue was, I had graduated and now Courtney was the only person pushing me to hang out with people I didn’t know (again, not great at that). I looked down at my swan I noticed I was crushing a bit in my hand and tried to straighten out its wing, to no avail. Things breaking in any way bothered me for some reason, probably because my perfectionist tendencies tend to get the best of me. As I pressed on the wing with my thumb, I heard the businessman in front of the apartment building smoking a cigarette. Oh great. Now I get to deal with this.

“Hey, sweetie where you headed?” He said, lazily stubbing his cig on the wall.

“Home. Because I live here. We have this conversation every time.” I was reaching for the door when I felt his hand on my wrist. Turning, I glared at him and yanked my hand back. “Don’t you fucking touch me!” I spat. He held his hands up in mock defeat.

“You know, most ladies like yourself are flattered when a handsome man talks to them. What’s your issue? I thin--” all of a sudden, he was gone. I was knocked off my feet by a rush of air, and when I looked up, he wasn’t there anymore. My eyes grew the size of dinner plates, and I stumbled inside, ignoring the concerned looks by the woman sitting in the lounge.

I walked into the elevator like a zombie and pressed the button for the tenth floor without looking. I couldn’t process what I’d just seen.

The lights were out when I walked into the kitchen, and when I turned them on, I was immediately greeted with a pillow to the face. “Hey! I'm so gonna get you for that!” I yelled at Amelia and Erin as they giggled and ran into their room, no doubt for more pillows. Rolling my eyes, I dumped my bag on the countertop and ducked behind the couch, grabbing the pillow nearest me. It was at that moment that my dad snuck up behind me and started pelting me with Beanie Babies. I squeezed my eyes closed and held up my hands to protect myself, and he stopped.

“E-Ella, what are you doing?” My father asked. I opened my eyes to find the Beanie Baby hanging in the air in front of me, rotating slowly. I jumped back, and the toy fell to the ground. My dad grabbed the toy and examined it for a minute, before looking back at me and furrowing his eyebrows.

“So, uh, how’d you manage that trick? That was pretty advanced!” I laughed, knowing that dad loved his “sleight of hand magic mastery” VHS.

“Ella, hon, that wasn’t me…” I rolled my eyes at him.

“Dad come on drop the act, how’d you do it? Invisible wires, a magnet?” He sat down next to me and grabbed my hand.

“Ella I’m telling you honestly that it wasn’t me. I- Well, to be honest, I think that you did it, sweetheart. Like a mutation.” Oh. Like a mutant or something? Like the crazy guy on TV with the helmet? I shook my head. That can’t be possible. I can’t be one of them. At school, they use the word “mutant” as an insult. They’re scared of them. They don’t like them.

“Are you sure? Maybe—maybe it was a weird air current!” Grasping at straws, I scooted back to face him.

“Ella, this has happened a few times before, we weren’t sure what exactly it was. When you were a baby, we would notice Cheerios floating out of the pantry to you, or your toys jumping into your crib with you.” He laughed at the memory. “We had a plan in case your… abilities showed themselves again, and I think it’s time.”

“Plan? What plan? Dad, you’re freaking me out right now. I think we’ve all had a long day and should just go to bed ok?” I ran into my room, my brain too full to handle anything else. I hurriedly got ready for bed, and snuggled into my bed, as if the sheets would protect me.