Monday, April 23, 2012


Emily shredded a receipt absentmindedly.  Piece by piece she ripped her frustrations into smaller fragments until they became infinitesimal in size.  What had she done wrong?
A crooked, awkward smile crept to her lips – first tugging at the corners, but soon spreading wildly across.  In her mind, a quick image of a half-eaten apple flashed.
“I know,” she said aloud, finally scooping up the tiny shards of paper. “I’ll get to it.”
He was always bothering her – her father was, that is.  He was constantly showing her little reminders of things she had been forced to interpret from an early age.  Though he had died twelve years ago, he still had much to say.
Emily was by no means a normal child.  She began to quickly pick up on things that other children couldn’t – cold spots, indescribable lights, movements that were impossibly subtle.  Her dreams would include messages she never understood.  She had knowledge of things she couldn’t possibly have lived through.  And she soon learned she could talk for people who could no longer talk for themselves.
            They talked to her in pictures, or sounds – in otherwise unperceivable messages that illuminated in magazines, books, or television shows.  They communicated to her with whatever means was available, and she had to interpret.
            Now twenty years old, Emily was used to not being alone.  She became accustomed to the strange looks she received when telling a strangers that their dead Great Aunt Tilly had said “Hello.”
            Once, she stopped a tired-looking businesswoman at a Starbucks.  Emily didn’t like to interrupt the lives of strangers with her peculiar messages, but sometimes the spirit was too persisting, too intent on having itself be heard. Emily had quietly tapped the woman on the shoulder, and politely spoke, “I know this is going to sound weird, but your mom wants to tell you ‘happy birthday.’ She’s very proud of you.”
            The woman clear slapped Emily across the face, dropping her venti nonfat latte in the process.  After she recovered from her minor breakdown, the woman thanked Emily and began to cry.  This was not at all an unusual day.

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