It was Aaron's first time to be out of his small apartment and not feel overwhelmed by emotions. The mantra going through his head from first Corinthians, "There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit." He realized the mantra was going through his head and took a deep breath.
"Yes, Mom, I hear you."
...and he started from the beginning. He knew all of first Corinthians 12: 1-11 like he knew the Lord's Prayer. His mother had read them to him the first time she found him crying for no reason. She was gifted too. She could read emotions. She was a counselor and one of the best.
She had tried to explain to him, but he still hated being different. He hated himself and was angry with God. She didn't understand. She could read emotions, but he didn't just read them, he took them in and they became a part of him. It was like reading a book, and as you read the words disappeared from the book. He knew he could put them back, and he also knew he could release them. He was unsure where they went sometimes, and sometimes they just stayed, and he would see people--their hopes, secrets, and dreams, and he would scream. The mantra she had taught him had kept them at bay. He filled his mind with the words and no others could get in, at least not all the way.
The emotions that had started to overwhelm him now softened to a buzz and he smiled. A stray tear rolled down his cheek, but he was unsure if it was his or someone else's.
His mother had tried to teach him to use his gift to help people like she did. He wanted to, but it was too much for him. The last time he had let his guard down he had almost died. It was when his mother went into the hospital and they diagnosed her with a tumor on her brainstem, and she slipped into a coma. He sat by her bed and listened to the soft whoosh of the machine that breathed for her and in exhaustion it had lulled him to sleep. He awoke gasping for breath, and heard the alarms going off, and fell to the floor as the people rushed into the room. As he fell, he felt an overwhelming joy and wonder, and opened his eyes as they called the code. He knew she was gone, but she was all he had and the tears and sobs that he heard were his own.
Alone now, he walked the dim streets trying to find peace with his gift.
The mantra running through his mind blocked others to the soft buzz, and he felt safe repeating the words until he fell to the ground in front of the homeless man. The emotions battered into him--hopelessness, despair, and self-loathing. The mantra was silent and he accepted the emotions as they came. He opened the homeless man's book. He turned the pages back to a time when there was excitement, hope, and even pride; them he read on and heard the sound of gunfire, and saw the man before him when he was younger with a knife in his hand. He felt the warm blood on his hands and saw the glazed eyes of the dead soldier staring up at him. He felt the emotions filling him. He felt the hope leaving, and the despair and self-loathing filling him up and the feeling of being completely lost. He took it all in, and felt himself pulling it in and making it a part of himself until there was no more to pull.
He had finally accepted his gift. He felt his body arch, and he raised his hands, and all the emotions he had pulled into him, he felt leave him going upward into heaven, and he understood. As his body relaxed he looked at the man with unkempt hair and dirty clothes in front of him. He felt the warm tears on his face, and heard the homeless man crying.
They were both on their knees and they looked at each other. The homeless man's eyes were clearer now. The despair had been lifted like a film that was wiped clean.
The homeless man looked at him in awe, "I've been forgiven."
Exhausted, Aaoron nodded his head,"We both are."
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