More bitter than sweet was the ceremony on that sunny but shocking day. I am so much less than grateful for my gift. So, to you, I must inveigh. I arrived at the city center, chipper, got there about midday. And so, I received my gift and then my soul started to decay. These gifts are supposed to elevate all of our community relations. All my gift has done is irritate me and test my patience. My friend got the gift of healing, some were assigned to speak in tongues, some got the gift of teaching, and some simply got wisdom. To know the deepest depths of life in every suburb and every slum. Frankly, with that I’d be happier because the gift I got is dumb.
Not dumb in its entirety, just dumb in what it reveals. It’s especially dumb to me because since I was young I’ve wanted to heal. Helping people was made for me, written so deeply into my code. Plus, seraphs with the gift of prophecy carry such a heavy load. Day and night people come to them down on their luck and always glum. They all want to know if their next phase of life is a dark or a sunny one. The others beat down their door for answers about life or who they will become. I just know that this gift would be my demise (if I was allowed to see my outcome). I know from the outside this sounds like it may be glittery, interesting, or fun. But I know better because there is a prophet in the neighborhood that I’m from. Angels that were headed to earth were constantly lined up outside his door. When they didn’t like his answers, they stayed for hours begging for more. I know firsthand that prophecy is less of a gift and more of a chore. Ever since they revealed this as my gift, my internal world has been at war.
I despise the gift of prophecy! I never wanted it, not even in my dreams. The angels in charge swear that they know best but they’re a muddled mess it seems. They told me my gift and, I’m sorry to say, I stared so long at them in denial. And ever since they loaded it in, I swear my life has been a downward spiral. I am writing this letter in hopes to invoke your sympathy or pity. God, I’m telling you, if I keep this gift life here will not be pretty.
I got the gift and immediately the secrets of the secretaries started to spill. With their past, their futures, and all their mistakes, my brain began to fill. I don’t know if this is the way it goes or if it’s because I lack the skill. I thought I could, you know, expose someone’s entire life of my own free will. Of course not, it pops in uninvited, as if this gift could get any worse. Talking to someone while I know their secrets is a scene that is so perverse.
For instance, I walked up to Kismo, my very best friend since we learned how to fly. I thought I knew her inside out. I knew her secrets and she knew mine. At least I thought so until I discovered that Kismo HAS A FAKE EYE!! I was absolutely devastated to be kept in the dark about something that seems so huge. How could I bring it up? She didn’t give the information I had to intrude. Actually, it was I who was intruded upon. Our whole relationship has changed. When we spoke I couldn’t help but stare at the eye and since then we’ve been estranged.
That wasn’t the last relationship this ill-fated gift has come and interrupted. My relationship with my mentor has been severely severed and disrupted. It was revealed that my childhood mentor, Mrs. Sicily Hunt, was going to be offered a trip to earth and that she would accept the jump. She jolted when I told her, stomped around, and swore they’d never make her leave. From there, her trust for me has withered and now she speaks to me with grief. She’s been looking at me sideways as if I’ve got a trick hidden up my sleeve. I’ve lost what feels like a mother and now of my peace, I’ve to been bereaved. When I come near, she covers herself and tightens her robe as if I’m seeing her naked. But in a way, isn’t she quite right? I’d too feel stripped if my thoughts were invaded.
Speaking of mothers, I thought I could hide in my room so the thoughts could settle. Of course, it took just a few seconds of silence to convince my mother to meddle. She came into the room and I was bombarded by things I never ever wanted to know. She raised me, I assumed she was level-headed ‘til I learned she stalked Van Gogh! The second he got to the Holy City, she discovered his whereabouts. For nine weeks straight she slept in a tent in the forest behind his house. How incredibly ridiculous! She just sat and watched him. She never even said a word. She wrote down what he wore and what he ate, such behavior is much more than absurd! It’s more than weird, long past creepy and this is my mother we are discussing. I am so deeply disturbed. I know too much, I wish that knew nothing! I confronted her with the information and for days she’s had nothing to say. I can’t help but look back and see all the stalkerish symptoms she’s always displayed. You'd be better off sending me to the United States, New York. This is worse than living in Marseilles. But if torture isn’t your desire for me, please take this wretched gift away!!
* * *
Genevivia, my darling. You’re so tender and true. I wish I could say it was all a mistake. My dear, I’m sorry to say it seems that prophecy is your fate. While the issue with Kismo could have been handled better, you are already finding your path. You can’t see it from my perspective but this is some fairly clean aftermath. You warned your mentor and she reacted poorly but in her mind, she began to prepare. When the storm came and we reached out to her, she was far from unaware. She accepted the position with a smile and something in her was hungry for risk. We laid out several assignments, the one that aligned with your prophecy she picked. You forced your mother to face her past, to open up and accept her deeds. (Plus, now you can look inside of you and pick out all of the stalkery seeds.)
You said since you were a girl, you dreamt of helping people heal. Can’t you see that healing the thoughts should be approached with just as much zeal? You are bouncy and brave and full of life. You are perfect for this position. You are the holder of our community's secrets, consider it an acquisition. You expose the shadow so they can see it and heal it with the light. Genvivia, you are a gift to this group. Your manic energy alone relieves their plight. You will find your way, I promise dear. Don’t worry about tomorrow. (And trust me, you wouldn’t survive in even the cleanest New York borough).
P.S. Van Gogh was still recovering from earth where he lived life as a madman. He saw your mother out there after a week, he was flattered to have such a fan!
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I absolutely adore this story! Poetry is my first love and this feels like one. Well done!
I really like your story! The rhyming paired with the narrator's despair of their gift is a great contrast.
Wendy has good eyes. Gifts of the Spirit, to artist, to jumping to earth. I took the last detail literally and started thinking it was a science fiction story for a minute. Since I twisted my ankle jumping from a little plane... I was wondering what the narrator might twist jumping to the Earth. This story had some beautiful prose. It jostled and teased and then broke into philosophical elements that put down entire life spans in small sentences. I liked it.
That was quite a feat, to do the entire thing in rhyme! Nicely done!
Thank you guys so much! I really needed the encouragement. :)