The Power

When did I first became aware I had ‘the power’ ? Let me think. Yes, it would have been a few days before my 6th birthday. Such a long time ago, how do I remember it with such clarity, you may be thinking. It was when I was compiling the list of chums to attend my annual party, Mother had insisted I invite Maisie. 

‘You know Maisie’s Mum’s a really good friend of mine and it’ll be embarrassing if we don’t invite her.’ 

It made perfect sense to Mother, but not to me. I ground my teeth. Maisie Sanders, or Mean Maisie, as I had secretly named her, and I, had been sworn enemies ever since she had snatched my beloved Tiny Tears doll and thrown it into a puddle, much to the amusement of a nearby pack of sneering boys. Despite my mother’s careful sponging, that doll had never felt the same again. Now Mean Maisie was going to spoil my birthday, just like she had spoilt my doll. 

The next morning I imperiously handed out the invitations at school, including, very grudgingly, but as I had been ordered, one to Maisie. I distinctly remember my concealed blind rage as I watched the expression of smugness spread across that mean little face. A thought flashed through my mind. 

‘I hope she gets ill and won’t be able to come.’ 

T-I-N-G-L-E. I had most definitely felt a tingling sensation through to my fingertips. 

Nowadays I recognise it as similar to the mild static electricity shock one experiences on occasion, but back then, it was just a tingle. Simultaneously with the tingle, I had closed my eyes and there was Maisie in bed, her mean face red and bloated. Ugh, I had shuddered and opened them again quickly, rushing off to find my best friend. The picture immediately forgotten. 

It was when, the afternoon before my birthday, my mother told me that, sadly, Maisie had come down with mumps, so would not be able to attend my party, that I knew, somehow my wish had come true. I could make no sense of it, but it had happened, just like in my vision. At that time I didn’t connect the tingle with ‘the power’, but I just knew somehow I had been responsible. Did I feel guilty? Not a bit, only sheer joy that Mean Maisie would not get the chance to spoil my party after all. At that age I assumed everyone must have this power, too. Very gradually it dawned on me that wasn’t the case. In psychology, the belief that one’s inner thoughts can influence outside events is called ‘magical thinking’, however, in my case it was definitely not imaginary. I just knew I possessed the capability to make things happen as I wished, and that it was a secret I could never share. 

Until my 20s I could count on two hands the times I had used ‘the power’. With age, I learnt to control it, rather than, like that first time, when the tingle had seemed to take control of me. I think it was during my teenage years I became aware of the tremendous responsibility I held. At first I found it terrifying to think of the potential destruction my power could wring, but then, and I’m not sure when, I began to delight in controlling events. Usually for my own ends. One particular example sticks in my mind. I remember feeling overwhelmed by the amount of revision for my A level chemistry and utilising ‘the power’ to gain access to the paper prior to the exam. Of course I was careful not to answer all the questions correctly, that would undoubtedly have generated suspicion, but I felt only satisfaction, no guilt, when I was awarded an A grade. To use ‘the power’ effectively I learnt to use guile, secrecy and, dare I say, dishonesty. In my defence, on occasion I would put my gift to good use, as in the case of my friend Brooke’s wedding. Waking on the allotted August morning, the skies were leaden, hail beating against the windows. In my mind’s eye I envisaged a distraught Brooke, convinced her outdoor country wedding was doomed. Of course I should act. Surely, it had been my duty to intervene? 

How many times that afternoon did I hear, 

‘It was just like a miracle. I can’t understand it. One minute it was like a hurricane, then miraculously the clouds disappeared and out came the sun. There’s no accounting for English weather’ 

Hadn’t I just saved the day? I can always find a justification for my actions. 

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