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The sun felt hot against my face. I could feel it, all around me, warming every inch of me. It was a feeling I could never get enough of. The warmth of the sun felt so wonderful, so comforting, to me. I touched my own skin, feeling the warmth spread through me.
The day was warm, and yet cool, with no wind. It was the perfect temperature. It was not too warm, but warm enough to be felt, though not powerful enough to burn. It was a Saturday, in mid September. I was sitting on a chair on my back porch, doing nothing but listening, and enjoying the warm sunshine. Around me I heard the melodic chirp of the bird, the passing cars, the occasional voice of someone walking by, the little girl down the street who kept crying about having chores, my even breathing, and everything else even remotely nearby. It made me laugh, how well my hearing was. I could always hear things before anyone else in my family could. It was interesting that the same thing could make me laugh and at other times, cry.
I had always been different; I’d known it even when I was very young. I knew there was something always wrong with me. I knew something was missing.
I lived my life in a shadow, for as long as I’ve known. A dim shadow wherein there was no light, no colors, nothing but darkness, consuming all, everything. It was the reason I was different. My parents told me fine the way I was, that I was special. Yes, special perhaps, but fine? No. I was not fine. When you are just fine everything is normal and happy, but it never seemed that way for me. It still doesn’t.
Normal is something I’ve never known.
I’d never been school, like my older brothers did. I’d never had friends like them, not real friends. I’d never been normal. I had a tutor instead of school. I’d had friends my mom found for me, not friends I made myself. I’d never known what the world was like, and I never would, because I was shaded from it. Not that I would be able to know the outside world if I tried. I was different, I was special.
But special wasn’t the right word for it. My parents should have told me it was unusual, or different, or terrible.
There used to be so many things about me that confused me before I knew about it. The way people were always nice to me. The way I got more stuff on Christmas than my brothers, the way that little boy asked me why my eyes looked so weird and his mother murmured something to him, and he apologized. They way my life was so different from the characters in the books my mom used to read me.
But then I figured it out.
Since then I am still unable to understand it. How could I have been born like that? Why me? What had I ever done to deserve it? What caused it? Why? Such questions always run through my head when I have nothing to do, which is often.
And then, when I have though the questions I force myself past it, and I am left in darkness. Unable to see the answers, or what I can do to be more positive.
I grasped the edge of my chair, standing up and waiting one more second as the sun warmed my skin for a moment longer.
“Here, McKayla, I’ll help you inside,” came the voice from my mother as she clutched my arm and helped me to the door. Her skin was soft, but extremely cold. It was like the covers on my bed when I first climb into them on a cold night. Cold, but soft and comforting.
“Thanks mom,” I said, smiling a little. I shut my eyes for a moment and in my mind’s eye I saw her smiling sadly, wondering how this could have happened to her precious girl.
Mom helped me sit down on the couch inside and asked, “You want me to read you something?”
“No, I’m kind of tired.”
“Okay,” she said. I could hear her voice was disappointed and sad, but worried also.
I curled into a ball and felt the soft leather of the couch. The harder part at the edge of the cushion, forming a perimeter around it. I raised my hand out past the couch and felt the table there, holding a lamp and a few books. I picked a small one up, lifting it and bringing it in my lap. I opened the front cover, feeling every inch of the hard edges of the cover, and then the thin paper. I tried to turn the page, but it felt like it was stuck to a few pages after it. I desperately tried to turn the first page, but it was stuck. I yanked it, and in my rush I heard the paper rip. I dropped the book, and then reached to the ground to pick it up and see what damage I’d done. The first page was ripped at the very bottom.
I felt tears of frustration spill out of my eyes, burning my cheeks and the warm liquid ran down my cheeks and to my neck. I shoved my face into the couch side, wetting it with my tears. Somehow, I couldn’t seem to stop the flow that was forcing it’s way out of my eyes.
The tears had come from years of not knowing, being shielded from what others had all their lives. They were for every memory I missed because she…because I was different! They were for everything I’d gone through all my life, and for the one thing I would give anything and everything for, that I knew I would never get. I could never get it back.
I would forever be in the dark. I would forever be blind.