Sometimes I get confused.
That’s part of the drawback of being psychic. Sometimes I get so unstuck in time, between predictions of the past and memories of the future, that I forget where I am for a minute. If that was all, though, maybe I could live with that.
But that’s not all. I don’t just have visions of my own future, sometimes I see other people’s, too. Sometimes I see other people’s pasts. Sometimes I don’t even know whose future it is that I’m seeing, whether it’s the future or the past, and the memories of my future stay with me.
Raven is the worst at that. Maybe it’s that she kinda looks like me—similar height (once I’ve caught up), similar build. Something in the eyes. But what I end up with is a person I have a hard time distinguishing from myself. Am I in her past, or am I in my future? My past or her future?
This would be harder if we were closer. Between her being in my brother’s band and the crush I sometimes have on the man I know she’s going to end up with, it can be hard to know where she stops and I begin. Keeping her at arm’s length, I think, helps me think of her as a character in a story. Someone I can live vicariously through her. There is more to affinity than intimacy. But leeching off Raven’s life comes with a price.
I started having nightmares shortly after I met Raven. They felt like more. They felt like memories. They felt like a part of me—something that would always drag me down. But I guess most nightmares do.
I noticed the next day how uncomfortable I felt around my father, like I couldn’t trust him—why couldn’t I trust him? (I found out later, of course, there might have been something else).
Then I started to notice that Raven had a certain way of moving—how can I explain how I knew? Maybe I’m just psychic. But by the next time I saw her, I was sure.
Raven had been abused. She didn’t like to make a big deal out of it. Her father was out of the picture—the hazards of driving drunk.
It wasn’t something she dwelt on. She had nightmares, ones that reached out and touched people like me, but other than that, she’d learned to lock all the memories themselves away as long as she was awake and never think about them. That was then, this was her.
She wouldn’t have talked about it—not then. If someone—say, Declan—had asked her about it, she would have found a way to change the subject, or just looked off into the distance until they did. But at the same time, I almost feel like she wore the history of her abuse as a badge of honor. Not like an excuse, not like a get-out-of-jail-free card for bad behavior, but more as a…
Hell, I don’t know. Maybe it was meant to be some kind of excuse, but not towards authorities. Authorities didn’t matter so much to her—she acknowledged them, but didn’t crave their acceptance. It was about her peers. There’s a kind of virtue in suffering, that was what this was. She would always know, in a way, how much better she was than everyone around her—after all, they hadn’t been through what she’d been through. Their lives were only Angst, where hers was real-life trauma.
Or maybe that’s not it at all. Maybe I’m making this all up—like I said, I’ve never really known her. Maybe this is just one more way I’m living vicariously through her, seeing her abuse at the hands of her father with the twisted envy of an angst-ridden brat who’s never known real pain—I mean, seriously, how fucked up is that, though?
But however it was she dealt with it, I know her pain was real—is real—will be real, once it comes to how she deals with love in her later life. How could it not be?