I'm tired. How much longer till lunch? If x divided by y equals three raised to the power of seven, then y must be… Wow! She's cute! I wonder if she has a boyfriend… This class sucks.
These were some of the things that sixteen year old Willow Travers heard as she sat at her desk in the back of the class room. Actually, she didn't so much 'hear' them as she picked them up. Unbeknownst to he fellow classmates Willow possessed an ability that made her more different than anyone would have ever expected. She could read minds.
Ever since she'd been very young Willow could remember hearing things, voices no one else could hear. When she'd tried to tell her parents they'd shrug it off, saying she was probably just letting her imagination get the better of her. Eventually they took her to see a doctor who, after smiling kindly and nodding while the girl spoke, turned to her parents and cheerily informed them that she was suffering from an acute psychological disorder and should be medicated ass soon as possible.
It wasn't until she was older that Willow realized what she was actually hearing were people's thoughts. However, by that time she had already stopped trying to explain it to her parents, knowing they would never believe her. Sometimes even she had trouble believing it. Her life had turned into something that resembled a very bad psychic novel. Even now most people remained completely ignorant of her power. That is, if she could call it a power. Oft times it proved to be more of a liability than a strength. Like now for instance.
"Miss Travers." The rough voice in Willows left ear caused her to jolt sharply and topple out of her chair, hitting the floor with a clatter. One disadvantage of having a sixth sense was that it sometimes distracted her from the primary five. Wincing, the girl looked up at the stern frown of her history teacher Mr. Smith.
"I asked you three times to explain why the Koran has never been translated from its original language. Would you care to give me an answer?"
"Um…" Willow stammered, trying to figure out what on earth a 'Koran' was. "Because nobody can read it?" Mr. Smith pursed his lips and walked back to the front of the room.
"Can anyone tell the erudite Miss Travers the correct answer?" Several hands went up. "Yes, Claire." A self satisfied girl across from Willow put her hand down and straightened her shoulders.
"The Koran has never been translated from its Arabic form because the Muslims believe it would be sacrilegious since that's the language in which Muhammad wrote it", she recited smugly. Mr. Smith nodded in approval and Claire flashed a smirk at Willow who responded by making a face.
"Perhaps from now on you'll save the day dreams for after class", the teacher chastised. She nodded miserably.
The rest of the day proceeded uneventfully, but Willow was still glad to hear the final bell ring. Slinging her knapsack over one shoulder the freshman commenced the walk home, not bothering to stop by Mr. Smith's office on the way out. He couldn't discipline her if she didn't show up, right?
She was eager to get back to Miguela's and check on Kiyoshi who hadn't been feeling well that morning. Miguela Sastre was a fiery, middle-aged Hispanic woman who'd turned her small two-story house into something of an unofficial foster home. Kiyoshi Yamatake was one of her more enduring tenants. Miguela and Kiyoshi weren't exactly related to Willow, or even to each other for that matter, but they were as close as any regular family and she wouldn't have traded them for anything.
Outside the walls of Maple Cove High it was surprisingly pleasant. Instead of the mighty gale which was the standard for March in Washington, there was only a light breeze. Pale sunlight warmed her face as she headed down the sidewalk, unconsciously avoiding the cracks. She didn't mind walking back to Miguela's by herself; quite the opposite in fact. It was one of the rare times that she had away from the constant buzz in the back of her head. Being alone with her thoughts and no one else's put Willow into a state of relaxation that kept her from going totally nuts.
It wasn't long before she reached her destination. Miguela's small, two-story house sat on the corner like a welcoming haven. New spring flowers augmented on either side of the narrow pathway that led up onto the porch. The small patches of purple crocus poking out of the hard ground brought a smile to Willow's face as she crossed the yard. When the weather got warmer the plot would be flourishing with a myriad of new plant life from the year before. (Miguela only planted perennials.) What made the garden even more appealing, to Willow at least, was the natural, orderless fashion in which the flowers and shrubberies were allowed to grow. The bushes were shaggy and untrimmed, dandelions sprung up alongside roses, and morning glories had begun to wind themselves up the veranda. It was enough to make any professional gardener or enthusiast cringe, but the teenager personally found it superior to the neatly manicured flowers and shrubs that other people displayed in front of their homes.
Pushing aside the brush of an
overgrown Lynwood shrub the brunette hurried up to the porch and
shouldered open the worn screen door. Despite the unkempt exterior of
Miguela's residence the inside maintained a clean and orderly
appearance. Every dish, every item of furniture, every piece of lint,
had its place in the woman's house and she could not be swayed to
The door shut behind Willow with a snap and she dropped her bag on the floor. Days of Our Lives currently occupied the television screen causing her to wonder if Miguela was even present." I'm home," she called into the entryway slash living room. As she spoke a dark head peeked around the side of the couch and a pair of almond shaped brown eyes looked out at her from behind a shock of shiny black hair.
"Hey Kiyoshi," she greeted with a smile crossing the room to lean on the back of the settee. The boy lying beneath a thin cotton blanket rolled over and grinned up at her. Hey yourself. Two years older than Willow and mute, Kiyoshi was the only person besides herself and Miguela who was aware of her strange ability.
He'd been living with the woman when Willow moved in and had been fairly surprised to find that, for the first time, he was able to talk to someone, even if it wasn't out loud. Naturally the two became fast friends much to Miguela's mystification. Up until that point she had been completely unable to communicate with her unusual charge outside of body language and written word. Regardless of the undeniable weirdness of it all, the no-nonsense caretaker hadn't taken long to accept and embrace the situation. Even better, Willow had thought, she didn't ask a lot of nosy questions. She simply decided it to be 'one of the good lord's countless miracles' and left it at that.
"What are you watching?" Willow asked in evident disgust as one of the many scantily female characters flung herself over a man lying comatose in a hospital bed. Kiyoshi glanced back to the screen appearing neither bored nor interested. I couldn't find the remote. Scoffing at this she tucked a loose stand of hair behind one ear and rested her chin on her palms. Several minutes passed as the pair watched the proceedings. When an angry looking doctor burst in on the woman and her vegetable lover. Kiyoshi gave a snort of laughter. That's her husband. He pointed to the doctor. And the guy on the bed is her brother, but-
"Wait! Wait! Let me guess…" Willow cleared her throat and said very seriously, "Her husband, the doctor, doesn't know they are related. He thinks that his wife is cheating on him. So in a fit of jealousy he attacked her brother and is the reason he's in the coma to begin with. Am I wrong?" The older boy blinked raising a critical eyebrow. You've seen this before.
"Have not," she indignantly replied as Dr. Man began shouting accusations at Wife. "I just have a good understanding of soaps. Their conflicts don't vary much." Now it was Kiyoshi's turn to scoff. Whatever you say, Will. Willow was about to respond when a new voice interrupted her.
"Ay me! What fresh hell is this?" A stout woman in dirty sneakers and cargo pants stood at the base of the stairs; one hand planted firmly on her hip while the other gripped a broom like a Trojan spear. "Have I taught you nothing about good taste?" she admonished loudly, as she marched over to the television and switched the channel with the remote which had been lying hidden under a TIME magazine.
"Hola Miguela" Willow said cheerfully, earning herself a dirty look. "What's with the broom?"
"It's those damn raccoons" the woman grumbled crossly. "They went and took up residence in the attic again. I had to chase them out!" She brandished the broom for emphasis. "You need to stop leaving the window open, chica or I will trap one and leave it in your bed!" Kiyoshi burst out laughing and Miguela swatted him. "And you! How are you going to get better watching that rubbish?" She shook her head and sighed when he only laughed harder and Willow joined. "Honestly, why do I even put up with you?"
Still chuckling Willow wrapped her arms around the petulant Puerto Rican in an affectionate hug. "I love you." Miguela gave one last "hmph" before accepting defeat and returning the teen's embrace. "I love you too. More if you start closing the windows. Did you have a good day at school?"