We all knew someday someone would gain the power everyone wanted. It was something that we learn about in elementary school. I just never thought it would be me.
Hi, my name is Waverly Ark. I am just a small-town girl who lives a life nothing out of the ordinary. Every day I wake up and do the same thing, and today would be no different. I woke up to the sound of Grandpa Finn yelling at the most recent football game he had prerecorded, since he falls asleep way too early to watch it in real time. I showered, got dressed in the average high school student outfit, sweats, and a sweatshirt. I went downstairs to say hello and grab some breakfast before leaving.
This morning I had the delicious, gourmet meal that is named honey nut cheerios. My grandma was never much of a cooker or baker for that matter. She was always focused on work, I guess you could say that is why my mother Tegan felt so neglected. I don’t know much about my mother or my father. That is why I have my grandparents’ last name; they never learned my dads’ real last name. But I guess it is not Grandmas fault, I have cheerios for breakfast, they never intended to have to start over again. I was just there when they woke up one morning.
That would be the sound of Foster’s car. The boy next door. This was always the part of the day I dreaded most. Foster. Big brown eyes, fluffy dirty blond hair, that sat perfectly, bushy eyebrows, and the biggest smile you have ever seen. You probably wondering why I dread this car ride so much.
Where I live, on your 15th birthday you are granted an ability or power. You must learn how to control it. Foster was 16 so he had his power, the ability to read your mind. Right, now you see why I dread this part of the day. I had the biggest crush on him. I would be 15 in a few days; I have always wondered what my power would be. There’s really no way of knowing. Grandma Chy had the ability to read how much on a scale of 1-10 how much people liked her, took a total turn on her mental health in the beginning, my mother and father were the only people to share a power I assume, the power of invisibility from my life.
Oops, “see you later Grandma Chy and Grandpa Finn, I love you!”
I got in the car and slammed the door, trying to avoid eye contact.
“Well good morning sunshine, rough morning?”
“No, except for the fact that I have to sit in the car with you for an hour,” I completely lied.
Foster politely replied, “I guess someone isn’t happy to see me.”
“Nope” I replied. This was an everyday struggle, having to mask all my feelings up, obviously he could never know I had a crush on him. It was like I learned to control a power that wasn’t even mine. He would never like me back. He was a year older and super cute. I never understood why he even takes the time out of his day to drive me, I bet my grandma is paying him gas money behind the scenes.
The last word he said the whole car ride was “Ouch!”
My first period was geometry, not exactly my favorite way to start the morning. Then I would head to Earth science, then to social studies, which felt like it went on for hours. After what felt like forever, I would finally head to English, which was one of my favorites, because I had class with my best friend Theo.
Theo and I had been friends since we were little. He was you are not your typical high school boy. He had dark brown hair with green eyes, and he only wore black. He is a pretty fashionable guy if you ask me. Theo was never really into sports, he preferred to sit at home listen to his vinyl’s and read a book, and that is why we are best friends. We both prefer to just sit and read our books, while we become a part of that story’s fictional world.
“Hey, did you see that Millie Scar is releasing a new book?” Theo said as he approached me.
“Um, who didn’t?
“Only every other person that attends this small gossip full town,” we laughed.
We lived in LaGrange, Arkansas, population 126. We attended LaGrange public high school, 10 teachers, 60 students. So, when we say everyone know everything, we really mean it. There were so many rumors going around that either Theo or Foster was my boyfriend, so everyone tried to be my friend and use me. I didn’t really care at first or realize, but it started to get irritating after a while, so I just gave up on making friends. I have Theo and Foster, and Grandma Chy is the best person to gossip with, so I think I’ll be fine.
After English Theo and I had to go our separate ways for today, he had science class, and as for me I had gym with Foster.
“Hey,” I said as I put my backpack down near Foster’s.
“Looks like someone brightened up!”
Completely embarrassed that he remembered I replied, “oh yeah, sorry about this morning.”
“All good” he said.
I totally dazed out by how nice he was and suddenly was standing alone when I heard “Ark, wake up, we are waiting on you,” that would be Mr. Hanks, who might I mention is Theo’s dad. He is like my father, so I guess he has permission to embarrass me in front of everyone.
It was finally time to head home after what felt like hours, I drive home with Theo and his dad every day.
After Theo’s dad dropped me off at home, I did my homework at the dining room table, while I told Grandma Chy all about my uneventful day. She always wanted to hear about my day. I didn’t matter how fun my day was, or how boring my day was, she always wanted to know, but I didn’t mind, this was one of the only things in my life that remained constant.
After all my homework was done and I studied for any tests coming up, I headed up to my undecorated room. I always wanted to make my room all cute and stuff, but Grandma Chy and Grandpa Finn, just didn’t have the extra money laying around. My walls were a faded pink, and I had some plain bedding with a Christmas blanket I was gifted one year. A few photos hung on the wall of Theo, Foster, and I, and of course some of my fish, Atticus Fish. Finally, was my bookshelf, with loads of Grandpa Finns old books, some from the thrift store and some I had been gifted. Even though my room wasn’t perfect to most people, I loved the simplicity.
Every day I would facetime with Theo to help him with homework until Grandma Chy called me downstairs for dinner. Then I would head off to bed and do it all again the next day.
Today’s date: February 12th, or my 15th birthday. I always hated my birthday, the day everyone is nice to you, when otherwise they would just ignore you. The worst part is when my grandparents, Theo, and Foster come over for cake and sing happy birthday. This year is different though, I would be rewarded my power, I guess I will have fun figuring that out today.
As I walked downstairs, Grandma had prepared my cheerios for me, and shouted “HAPPY BIRTHDAY.”
“Thanks Grandma, how long until you think that I will know what my power or ability will be?”
“I mean there is really no way to tell, I gained mine right as the clock struck 12 right before my birthday was over, your mother found out at school, it is different for everyone. But if your anything like I was this is going to be the longest day ever! If you can’t figure it out on your own, they send a letter, explaining your power, so you’ll know eventually”
“Ahhh, there she is, the birthday girl, Happy Birthday sweetie,” Grandpa Finn said as he walked by me to grab his own fix of cheerios.
I simply replied, “thanks, heading out to school, love you guys.”
Foster and I arrived at school, he had already asked a million times if I had figured out my power, and unfortunately, I hadn’t.
Grandma Chy was right today had felt hours long, I just wanted to know. I didn’t want to be one of those kids who got a letter, because they couldn’t figure it out on their own. I went about my normal afternoon and evening. We had cake with Theo and Foster. I stayed up till midnight and still had no idea what my power would be. Then there was a knock on a door. I didn’t know who it could be, but then I looked over at the clock and saw my birthday was over, and I was yet to know my power. I walked downstairs and opened the door, to see an envelope staring at me. I opened it and it read:
The ability to gain anything she wishes for, while taking something from someone else
You now control the state of the world
“I……I…I.. I don’t understand, what does this mean?” I asked Grandma Chy.
Grandma seemed to be worried, “Honey, do you remember learning about this in elementary school?”
Of course, I remembered, but I couldn’t get myself to speak. There was too much happening inside my head. All sorts of thoughts were flowing throughout my brain, how could I be the one that gets the power everyone wants? How would I learn to control this? I can’t just stop my brain from thinking. I’m never going to be able to want or think again. Why me? Grandma and Grandpas faces grew concerned. Then everything went blurry and that’s all I remember from that night.
The next morning, I couldn’t bring myself to get out of bed. Before I knew it, Foster
was honking his car horn for me to go outside.
“So, what’s your power?” he asked politely.
I didn’t want to tell him, I didn’t want to tell anyone, “nothing special.”
He replied “oh, it can’t be that bad?”
“Oh yes it can, I control the state of the world, anything I wish for I get, but every time
one of my thoughts loses control, I ruin someone else life.”
Foster laughed, “you’re telling me, you get the power we all wanted growing up, and this is
I was annoyed and confused, “wait a minute, did you not hear a word I said?”
“Oh, I heard loud and clear, your just being uptight,” he laughed.
“Uptight, huh? Look I think this conversation is over for now.”
When I got to school, I completely ignored Theo, and left Foster to explain to him
what was going on. I was so focused on controlling my thoughts. Is this going to be the new reality? Is this going to take over my life?
I was finally in last class of the day, gym when I just wanted Mr. Hanks to let us have a free period. It was in that moment I forgot to control my thoughts. “Alright kids, I think we will have and easy day, so catch up on any schoolwork you need to do!”
Ok so I got what I wanted, but what is the catch? Will It happen right away, in an hour, a day, a week? I had no idea what I was capable of by wanting this simple thing. Before I knew it, some boys were headed out the door to drop off the attendance to the office a when a puddle of water appeared. One of the boys slipped and fell. They ended up breaking their wrist. I must have sat there with the face of guilt because out of nowhere because Foster asked, “was that you?”
“What are you talking about?” I replied
“I mean out of nowhere Mr. Hanks decides to give us a free period, then a puddle appears, and the kid breaks his wrist. It sounds like your power; you need to control it.”
I was angered, doesn’t he know I’m trying, “Yes, it was me, I’m having a horrible day and wanted the period off, and forgive me but, why does my power suddenly concern you? I thought I was being too uptight?”
Foster replied, “Okay, maybe I was a little harsh this morning, I was tired can we call a truce?”
His face expressed sorrow, “Look, I know your trying, and I know it’s hard, I’m just saying let someone help you, don’t do this alone.”
I wanted help, I really did, but I just don’t think anyone can help me.
Hours, days, and weeks passed by and I had still couldn’t control my power. I spent most of my time in my room. My attendance was so low, I could have to repeat my grade. I didn’t want to go to school. The first few days when I did get to school, I would lose control, and I ruined everyone’s life. The worst thing I have done was wish to get 100 on my recent test, the consequence, my teacher was fired. I had made people miserable. Why was this power so romanticized in elementary school? Nothing in my life was the same anymore.
I was constantly consumed by my power. I never understood if I wish for something, why does it manipulate that certain person’s life? I just can’t figure it out. I wanted help, I really did I just didn’t know who or how to ask.
“Hey, Grandma,” I said looking down as I passed her on the way to the kitchen.
Out of the corner of my eye I could see the puzzled look on my grandma’s face, “Good morning, why don’t you come and sit down.”
I knew where this was going, and I also knew this wasn’t something I could get out of, so I went and sat down. “I know what this is about.”
“You do? Why don’t you tell me what’s going on then?” She replied
To be honest I didn’t really know how to put how I was feeling into words, it’s much easier said than done, but that’s just an excuse, “I know I need to go to school, but I don’t know how my powers work,” a tear rolled down my face.
“Grandma, I don’t want to go back, I don’t like making mistakes.”
Completely sobbing now, “I don’t want to ruin everyone’s life.”
“Look, you would be an absolute fool to think everyone didn’t make mistakes along the way. Give yourself some credit, you have been granted the power of all powers.” Grandma said.
She continued, “Your grandpa Finn and I have been doing our research and found out more about your power.”
“Why didn’t you tell me?” I asked confused.
“You were never the keenest on asking for help, and we didn’t want to overstep.”
I was annoyed that they didn’t help me sooner, but as much as I didn’t want to admit it, she was right. “Well right now, right here, this is me asking for help, if you and grandpa are willing.”
She replied, “Of course.”
I headed upstairs to get ready and return to school. Luckily for me Foster still came every morning and waited for five minutes in hopes I would go back to school. Today his hope would now be reality. I heard the honk of his car horn and rushed outside excited to talk to him.
I saw his face, which was a mix of excited, happy, confused, and worry, all the expressions mixed, I couldn’t help myself but laugh. “Good Morning sunshine,” I said with a smile.
“And good morning to you, never thought I’d see the day.”
“Yet you came every morning, why did you still come every morning?” I asked sincerely wanting to know.
Foster’s cheeks became flushed and he seemed embarrassed, “Well, I…I.. I knew you would be ready one day.”
“Okay, so how has school been, did I miss anything good?”
“Uh, well uh no not really,” he said.
I knew that face, it only happened after I was out from school, but I had high hopes for this time, “Foster, no, did you really?”
“I couldn’t help myself; I get so bored when there is no one to talk to!” he replied.
Remember when I told you Foster can read minds, well he isn’t supposed to just use it whenever he pleases. When he turned 15, he made a pact to me that he wouldn’t embarrass random people, for everyone’s sake. Whenever I’m out of school, he falls into a bad habit of breaking the pact.
Before I knew it, we were at school parking in the same spot as always. Yes, we were back at school, Foster and I had caught up, but I still wasn’t normal, I hadn’t talk to Theo since my birthday. Let’s just say, we weren’t on the best terms. It’s not Theo’s fault, he had called, texted, stopped by the house, but I chose to ignore him again and again.
The time had come for English class, and I was nervous to see Theo. I wish I could say everything would be fine, but nothing is guaranteed. Theo and I had never gone this long without talking to each other.
I approached Theo as I saw him in the hallway, I had been thinking all day constantly about what I would say to him, I went with the simple “hey.”
Theo completely ignored me, which he had every right to do but I was still annoyed he didn’t respond so I continued to try and get his attention, “Hey, what’s the matter?”
“What’s the matter?”
Theo had not seemed very happy to be talking to me, “You ignore my calls for weeks, and you come back and all you say is hey.”
“Yes, what do you want me to say?” I said.
“Oh, I don’t know, maybe a simple sorry would have been nice to hear,” he said.
“Look Theo, I know that I have ignored your calls, texts and knocks at the door, but I have been really stressed out, I didn’t want to ruin your life with my stupid power, and I know that’s not an excuse, so I really am sorry and hope you forgive me.”
“I understand you were trying to protect me, but I can handle it and you shouldn’t be doing this alone,” he said with a concerned look.
“Friends?” I asked.
“Friends.” He replied.
The day went on, the Hanks dropped me off at the end of the day, things had felt normal, until I had gone out with Theo to hang.
We were walking around town after grabbing some ice cream, when we were approached by some kids we had recognized from school. I could tell they weren’t coming to ask for directions or to be nice.
“Look who it is, Waverley Ark and Theo Hanks,” the boy who seemed to be the leader of the group said.
We chose to ignore the boys when we heard another comment.
“So, you’re the girl who skips months of school at a time and doesn’t use her power.”
I wanted them to leave us alone and Theo had noticed.
Theo tapped my shoulder and said, “Come on Waverley, it’s not worth it.”
I knew it wasn’t worth it, but I needed some practice, and this was the perfect opportunity.
I decided to try and reason with them before I took this conversation to a different level, “Yes I did skip school, I didn’t want to hurt anyone with my power.”
“Look at her boys, so pathetic, didn’t want to hurt anyone.” The small one in the back shouted.
“I strongly suggest you leave, if you don’t leave yourself, I’ll make you.”
These were these types of people who were only nice to you on your birthday. I would never have enough patience to deal with them, but this time, knowing what I was capable of , I had to try.
The leader of the pack looked up, “oh yea, what are you going to do to us?”
“Don’t,” I heard over my shoulder.
“Get away from me and my friend!” I suddenly shouted at the top of my lungs.
It was like they were under my control, they turned around and walked to the other side of the street before boom. A car had hit them.
“Come on, let’s go!” an angered voice said.
I couldn’t understand what I had just did, but I did warn them, I was upset with myself, I thought I could handle myself this time.
Theo and I arrived back at my house and rushed upstairs. We had a long conversation about what I had done, and Theo was not happy, but understood it wasn’t easy for me.
“Waverley you have to be careful, if someone had seen you, they could have called the government!”
I knew he was going to say that “Look I know, but it is harder than you think, besides kids like that have been bothering us for years, I finally felt happy.”
“I understand but if that is what makes you feel happy than we need to talk.”
I could hear the laughter in his voice, and I knew that everything was going to be just fine.
Weeks had gone by, Theo and I would go to school, and my mistakes kept happening. The small happy town of LaGrange had turned into a battlefield outside. There was debris everywhere and people who were out begging for food. The trees were all burnt piles of ashes now. Where the family businesses of families I had known used to sit, where now piles of bricks and melted products. The school had been shut down, due to the chaos that I had created. I had been keeping a tally and there was only two people left in the school whose lives I hadn’t messed up yet. Yes, you guessed it, Theo, and Foster. I wanted to stay away from them, but they wouldn’t let me. I had felt ashamed of myself. Yes, I had been getting everything I wanted, but for the rest of my live I had to carry the burden of the people I ruined.
At the park that used to be full of joyful kids, and parents who caught up with old friends, was now a site of tumbled over slides, melted swings, burning plastic, and smokey skies, I dropped to my knees. I just screamed at the top of my lungs, just wanting everything to stop, wishing this had been a dream. Foster had come over to me.
“I can’t anymore.”
As I knelt in the middle of my mess with Foster still standing over me while I stare into his big brown eyes, “I just can’t”
Foster seemed confused and extremely worried, “you can’t what?”
“Anything, I can’t do anything,” I paused.
“Nothing makes sense anymore. I’m sitting here, and it’s like I’m drowning in my own thoughts, and everything that I touch drowns with me, and every day, the water gets a little muddier, with the pain everyone, everything has felt. And it’s all my fault.”
I felt arms fold around me and hug me tight, while I just sat there and sobbed for hours, and hours.