“You don’t seem to ever talk about your…ability,” Gershom ventured.
“No. Unless people inquire and want me to use it. I think it makes them uncomfortable.”
“Yeah, I can see that happening.”
I had a feeling Gershom wanted to ask me more questions, but he stayed quiet for a few minutes. In fact, he waited until his sandwich was gone entirely before speaking again.
Glancing at me hesitantly, he asked, “So…can I ask how you…finally knew?”
“You mean that I could talk to the dead?”
“Right. But it’s more than that, isn’t it? I thought…I thought you visit the afterlife…or at least the place people consider the afterlife.”
I let my sandwich fall to my lap because I knew my explanation would take some time.
“I do…but I didn’t know for a long time actually. Since it happens in my sleep, I thought I was dreaming like everyone else does. You can’t really jump into other people’s dreams and compare them to your own, so I didn’t know that people talking to you in your dreams regularly was…uncommon.” I paused to laugh at myself, but Gershom didn’t join in. He waited patiently for me to continue, his grave expression never wavering. “But then one day my next door neighbor passed on and that night he came to me, asking if I’d deliver a message to his wife. He wanted to tell her that there was cash stored in a coffee container in the back of the pantry. So that next morning, I went over and told her. I was young enough then, or stupid enough, to do it without understanding the consequences.”
“Not stupid,” Gershom corrected. “Brave.”
I snickered. His perception was not quite accurate. “Bravery implies knowing the cost of opening the door…letting others know what I could do…and then doing it anyways. No, I’d have to say I was not prepared for the penalty.”
Gershom emphatically disagreed. “Even at a young age we know if we are different. We understand common behavior and know when we are deviating from it. I’m sure you did too. I think you’re being modest.”
I watched him closely for a moment. “You have a lot of wisdom for an eighteen-year-old.”
Suddenly uncomfortable, he dropped his stare. “Being on the road…and alone…you learn a lot.”
I knew the truth to that statement.
“So, I’m assuming you went ahead and told your neighbor’s wife about the money,” he persisted.
“Oh, yeah, I did. She slammed the door in my face, probably thinking I was playing some kind of mean joke on her. But later…while I was sitting on my doorstep questioning my sanity…deciding if I should get help…she walked across the lawn toward me, shaking, with a coffee can in one hand and a wad of cash in the other.”
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