I had a secret since I was a baby. One that could heal or kill.
That was why I’d left two families behind me on that road.
One who raised me, but I’d left behind to find answers to questions they couldn’t answer. They didn’t know where I was now.
Another which I’d felt could be my home, but their neighbors said I had to leave.
So now I was walking down this abandoned desert highway, looking at an uncertain future.
I could only blame myself. And blame my past.
Because how my secret worked depended what I thought and felt.
But until I could get a grip on what raged inside me, I didn’t feel safe around anyone. Not safe for them, anyway.
And so I walked.
While the empty road – like my empty heart – stretched out in front of me…
I waited until we’d finished shutting everything down for the day before I started asking my Mom questions.
Of course, the coffee pot and anything electric got shut off, the gas to the grill, and all the dishes washed and put away. That’s a lot of alone time, and dish washing goes faster with two people if you work fast and quiet. Gather, wash, rinse, put away. Leapfrogging the stations. Because the faster you get the chores done, the more time you have for stuff you want to do – like talking.
I know it wasn’t “adult-like” but I still liked holding my parents hands, and I felt they liked it to – more than they knew.
“Mom, do you get many new memories of your life before?”
“Oh, sometimes. Dreams, sure, but those aren’t accurate. And then when I’m doing something, I can get snatches of memories back.”
“Did you ever get dreams or memories of your real mom?”
“Only that she always seemed to be smiling at me. From what I understand, she wasn’t around very long. So if all I ever remember of her was a smiling face, then that will be good.”
“You never met your real dad?”
She shook her head no. “From what I understand, he wasn’t around since before I was born.”
“And your step-dad?”
She shrugged. “He had his problems. And worked long hours, then would be in town drinking somewhere into the evening. I remember him smiling some, but that was with my mom. After that, I didn’t see him much. And Mrs. Tate was my kinda substitute mom after that.”
“But she wasn’t real.”
Mom stopped and looked at me. “That’s not correct. She was very real when I was younger. Always positive. Always helpful. And would listen to me and help me when she could. At least that’s what I remember.”
“But you said she turned out to be a ghost?”
We started walking toward home again. “Yes, but I like to think of her as a spirit-guide. More like the Amerindian legends.”
We were silent for a few paces.
“Rochelle, Arthur told me you’d been asking about your own mom.”
I nodded. “Sure. I was thinking about going to find if she had any other family.”
Mom looked over at me to see my expression for a bit as we approached our home. “I think you might be able to visit them…”
I stopped and looked at her eyes. “And not kill them?”
She just nodded, with sad eyes. “But of course, they can’t know – “
“That I’m a Lazurai?”
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