Posted by: Kathryn Hulick | October 20, 2009

How I Am

Waterville, ME. March 15, 2004.

03-15-04 Portrait BW covering face

It’s been a long time since anyone asked me how I am. You want the answer? I’m exhausted. I’m also nauseated, doubtful and full of regret.

I think everything that happened may have been a dream. Or a hallucination. Who am I to get a divine message? Or even a divine slap on the face? I’ve never done anything worth noting, and I certainly haven’t been particularly good or bad. It was always other girls, not me, who snuck off with their boyfriends and cases of beer. It was other girls who scored field hockey goals and ran for class president.

I did my best to become one with the creamsicle orange walls of Aylsbury High School. And I pretty much succeeded. That’s the only thing I ever was good at. I was so good, that my homeroom teacher asked me one day near the end of the year if I was a new student. She’d forgotten my name.

That day after graduation, the day when most kids I knew were either hungover or playing with brand new computers and phones from their proud parents, I walked to school and sat on the bleachers out by the baseball field.

If you asked me why that morning, I’d say I wanted to get away from my smothering grandmother and the mile-long cake that now said: “Congratula Felicit” We’ll be eating cake for the next year, until the whole message is erased.

I know now that it wasn’t my own idea to start walking. It sure felt like it, but something, or maybe someone, wanted me to be there.

This something wanted me to see.

I wish it had picked someone else. Some other girl who wanted all the attention and drama and horror.

What was it I saw? You should know already if you have a TV. Or a newspaper. Or a computer.

The baseball field basically split down the middle, knocking me down from the bleachers. Earthquakes just don’t happen in Aylsbury, but everything I knew about them told me there shouldn’t be a bright white-orange light shining from inside the earth like there was.

Then this vine started to grow–twisting up out of that gap like an alien dancer. The plant twisted around and around, covering the bleachers where I’d been sitting, covering the whole field with a criss cross pattern of pale green.

That’s when the janitor happened by, and got on a cell phone with the police. It wasn’t long before the paper and the TV station showed up. Everyone wanted to talk to me. Everyone wanted to know: what happened? What did you see?

The light was gone by then, but the janitor had seen it, too, so he made me tell.

I told the earthquake part just like I told you. But there was another part, and that I’m not telling anybody.

It told me my future. Whatever it was that split the earth and grew an alien vine, it wanted to tell me my future. And now I know. It’s not a particularly good future, and that’s why I’ve been acting so funny lately. I wish I didn’t know. At least then, I wouldn’t feel so responsible for a crime I haven’t even committed yet…

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