Do you feel that?
That warmth in your face? Your palms beginning to sweat? How about your heart beginning to pound? Do you feel that?
Then again, I don't really have to ask. I already know the answer. I couldn't always tell, you know. It used to be kind of shot in the dark stuff… throwing random energy surges out into the universe, hoping that they hit the mark; hoping that they did what I wanted them to. I'm better now though. I have more precision, more accuracy, more control.
I can make people do things.
I can't make you rob a bank, and I can't make you stand on a table and do the chicken dance. I can't read your mind… but I can read your body. Don't worry. You'd probably never notice it, even if I did decide to manipulate you. You might notice, but even if you did, you wouldn't recognize it. No one would feel any kind of opposition because no one tries to make their palms sweat. No one tries to rush their heartbeat. No one makes themselves twitch. No one makes themselves sneeze. I am not taking control away from you; I am merely picking up the slack. What I can control is something that you never had control of in the first place. Finders keepers, right?
I can't put thoughts in your head, because at least to a certain degree, you can control that too. I don't have the power to take control away from you. Jon says that I'll be able to take people's control from them one day, but then, Jon says a lot of things. I can make you dream. I can put pictures in your head. I can make your mind wander in that split second before you realize that you should be concentrating on your math test. I can play around with your subconscious, and sometimes, when used correctly, that can lead to a favourable course of action for me, but I can't actually make you act on any of the things that I put in your dreams. I can't change how you feel about the pictures that I put in your head, but that's okay. I can fake it pretty damn well.
Do you see that? That blurred yet inerasable image of me in your mind; that feminine mush of hair and skin. Do you feel that? Your pulse starting to quicken again, perhaps even a slight rush of adrenaline? That is how I control people. I can read it… the subtle difference in speed when your heart beats in fear and exhilaration. I can read just how much adrenaline I need to give you to make you think that you're angry. I know just how much sweat means that you're nervous. It's true, I can't actually make you feel these things, but more often than not, I am skilled enough that your brain will interpret these minute changes as its own. If I read you well enough and do it right, poof, that blurry little image of me just turned you on.
It doesn't quite work that way of course. For all their good features and wonderful qualities, diaries are notorious for being impossible to manipulate. Reason being: no heart means no heartbeat to alter.
None the less, I am certain that this book will eventually fulfill its purpose. I have never told anyone about my skill. Some might call it a power, others might call it a gift. Darley even goes so far as to call it a condition, but that is not a simple story. I, however, call it a skill. It took years of practice to hone my skill into what it is today, and seeing as I don't really have any other ones, there is no way in hell that I am giving this one up. It isn't a talent, because a talent implies a certain natural essence to it, like I was simply born with the pinpoint accuracy and awe inspiring power that I currently posses. It is a skill, and that is that.
Darley tells me that my condition has poisoned my mind. She has it in her head that my skill is like a cancer, and the more I work and practice and nourish it, the larger my cancer becomes and eventually I will be killed by its aggressive flourish.
Darley means well, and I know this. She loves me…in her own way. Darley is my aunt, my mother's sister, but I don't address her as such. I'm not really sure why… there was never a specific reason, she was just always Darley. I think if I walked over to her today and called her aunt Darley she would probably try to exorcise me. She's a little weird like that.
She has two children, and she says that's the way it's supposed to be. In our family, there are always supposed to be two, she says. "One to know and one to say, this has always been the way." I remember when she used to chant that every day before Vicky was born. Vicky is my younger sister. Maggie is my older sister. Darley liked to throw salt and rose petals at mom every once in a while once she found out that she was pregnant again. I never really understood why. "Aren't Margaret and Robin good enough for you?" She used to moan. "Why would you put our way of life in danger like this?"
I never really knew what she meant by that. The way I see it, our way of life is exactly the same as it was before Vicky was born. Darley is certainly a strange one. I can't explain the reasons for half of the things she does, but I don't think I would really trust myself if I thought I did. If you understand her motivation for anything entirely, there is a very strong chance that somebody has slipped you something.
What baffles me most of all, however, is her view on my "condition." One would think that if she were to resent someone, or something, it would be mom. Even still, if she didn't resent mom, or even dad, you would think that she would resent Vicky. She doesn't though, because Vicky is still the way it's supposed to be. Maggie and I used to be the way it was supposed to be as well.
Every generation of my family, for as long as we have on record, has had two children. Always. The eldest is always passive; the "one to know" as Darley would put it. The eldest child is blessed with empathy. No, they're not just really good at putting themselves in other people's shoes. They can feel others' feelings. Legend has it that every hundred years or so one of said children is also blessed with the ability to read minds, but it's been about a hundred and seventy years since the last one that we know of, so no one really knows what's going on with that one.
The younger child, as I was for almost four years, has the power of suggestion. With appropriate tuning this can become mind control of sorts. Suggestion can become very strong, strong enough to override most of the individual's commands, but there have always been limits. With every person controlling and every person being controlled, and even every circumstance thereof, the limits are different, but there have always been limits.
No one really knows exactly what happened when Vicky was born. Maggie was completely unaffected of course. No matter how many children my parents had, she would always be the eldest. Her spot on the food chain was firmly secured.
Something strange happened with Vicky though. I don't remember much about those years… I was only three, albeit almost four, when Vicky was born. I was too young for anyone to have noticed any powers of suggestion that I might have had or lacked. All I know is that Vicky has her power exactly the way it's supposed to be, and somehow I have my skill.
My skill did not come easily as Maggie's and Vicky's powers did. Of course they needed to practice, to train if you will, but it was merely fine tuning. Learning to take control of another person is like learning a language. You get the first few words really fast, grammar comes around and slaps you in the face, and then you speak and read and write and sing and practice for the rest of your life, but you can die at age 94 and realize that there are hundreds of words and phrases that you still don't understand. Starting almost from scratch and learning a language was what my skill was like.
Learning a power is not like that. Learning a power is like learning to type. You already know exactly what you want said, and you have the characters all neatly arranged right in front of you. Hell, when you get right down to it, it doesn't even matter if what you're typing makes any sense, as long as you are producing words on the screen from the correct finger position. Sure, you have to learn to work some muscles that have never been used to this extent before, but even without any training you could tough it out and write everything letter by letter. Learning to type is merely an exercise in efficiency.
Jon was my speech coach. Jon is a friend of the family really; he was my mother's best friend growing up. He's known about our situation since he was about nine but he doesn't share our blood and he doesn't have any power. It may seem strange that someone without power was the only one who could help my find and control my skill, but it makes a lot more sense than the alternative. Mom and Darley couldn't understand why their instructions were not working and why I didn't seem to display any of their power. Darley tried suggesting that I attempt to suggest things. They were always simple tasks; tell a spider to jump off the counter, tell a cat to do a summersault. None of it really worked though, because I didn't have that power.
I like Jon. He was the first one to call me Bobbie. He started calling me that from the moment I was born, and it stuck. Everyone calls me Bobbie. Only Darley calls me Robin. My daddy calls me Robert. Apparently, though I don't remember it, when I was three I went through a phase in which I was completely and utterly convinced that I was a boy. My parents were sure I'd grow out of it (and I did) so they decided to just go along with it. They called me Robert for a good three weeks, and daddy just never stopped. I wore baggy shorts and a tee shirt (not so very unlike the clothes I would have worn anyways) and hung out with the boys. I tried to cut off my hair, but my mother wouldn't allow it. She actually ended up writing a letter to the preschool asking them to allow me to wear my hat indoors because nothing short of that would have stopped me from picking up the scissors at craft-time and lopping off my ponytail flat out. I hated my ponytail. I remember that much. It was so girly. I remember writhing in terror of being mocked by the other boys.
I'm not one of those cool people who would punch you if you called me Robin. I don't have that kind of guts. I would warn you the first time, glare the second time, and probably not talk to you for a very very long time if you said it again. I would love to punch those people, but I'm a bit of a wimp.
Most of the time, however, people don't call me Robin. Most of them call me Bobbie because that's how I introduce myself, because it suits me, or because if they don't I glare at them and make them "fear" me.
This doesn't really work with my family. I can manipulate my daddy, but usually I don't, and even when I do, mom usually comes to his rescue. Somehow, the rest of us are more or less immune to each others' influence. Well… immune is perhaps the wrong word. More like resistant. I hear Darley's suggestions, but more often than not I am able to, and choose to, ignore them. I can't always tell the specific instance when mom is trying to read me, but I know how to shut myself down so that she doesn't get much, if anything. We're all like that. I guess it wouldn't really work if two year olds throwing a tantrum could suggest to their mothers that they be given more ice cream.
Jon seems to think that I'm going to be more powerful than my sisters one day. I really want to believe him, especially because it's Jon, but sometimes you have to be careful with him. He exaggerates a lot, and he hates to say no to people. I love him for it, but it gets him into trouble sometimes. I often think that's why he never seems to have a steady girlfriend. I mean he's thirty-six but he never broke seventeen. I tease him by saying he's been in puberty so long it's amazing he isn't nine feet tall. I used to anyway, before I was old enough to realize the slightly less innocent interpretations of that sentence.
Anyways, I have to go to sleep. The fluorescent light is starting to sting my eyes, and my first day of high school is tomorrow. Grade nine shouldn't be that much different from grade eight. Some of my friends are going to different high schools, but some of them are staying with me. I'm scared to find out what my schedule is going to be like, but I'll deal with that tomorrow. I really hope that there are some better guys at this school than at my old one. That same old crowd of dweebs was getting pretty damn boring.
Anyways, once again, sleep. I'll try to remember to write in this daily.
Ever with love