Who Am I?
You sleep badly at night.
You stumble into the bathroom in the morning, exhausted, mentally nauseated, and depressed, and you catch your reflection in the mirror above the sink. You don’t recognize yourself. Your face is drawn. Your mouth is turned down in the corners. Your eyes are bleak. Guilt and responsibility weigh heavily upon your shoulders. You are hollow inside.
“Who am I?” you ask your reflection.
“A killer,” the wisps of your nightmare reply. Ghosts of the dead stand behind you in the mirror, glowing malevolent green. Your veins ripple as they press closer. You see faces you recognize: Phelan, Nixon, Principal Kwan, Earl Jenkins, Dr. Hamilton, Cassandra, Sean, Mrs. Greer, Lana’s parents from their picture. Other faces blend together, an amalgam of those who died during the meteorite shower and the unknown victims of those mutated by the meteorites. Their voices mix together in anger and pain. “You are a killer.”
You wonder if they are right.
“Who am I?” you ask by the lockers at school. The halls are crowded with students, talking and laughing. You feel out of place, like you don’t belong.
“An alien,” he answers with a knowing smile. “Be a pal and run to my house and get my homework. It’s on the desk in my room. The window is open.”
He closes his locker and vanishes into the crowd of students. They are not your peers. They are human.
“Who am I?” you ask, listening to the click-clack of keys on the keyboard. It’s otherwise quiet in the Torch office, save for the buzz of energy radiating from the blond at the computer.
“An untold story,” she replies blithely, not pausing from her work. “With all the strange things going on in this town, you’re the most mysterious of them all.”
You look at the Wall of Weird and are not surprised to see your face in the center.
“Who am I?” you ask above the din of conversation. The Talon is busy. Tables of patrons demand rushed service so they can relax.
“An untrusting friend,” she says as she hurries past you with a tray of foamy lattes. “You may be a savior, but who’s going to help you if you don’t let them in?”
The bitter taste in your mouth is not from the coffee.
“Who am I?” you ask, leaning against the counter. The kitchen is bright and cheery. The scent of freshly baked pie is sweet in the air.
“A worry,” she answers, premature wrinkles aging her face. She kneads the dough before her with vigor. “I wished for a child and got you.”
The sunlight from the window creates a halo over her graying hair.
“Who am I?” you ask while you toss a bale of hay off the back of the truck. The land to the west is flagged off. Contaminated.
“A burden,” he replies, wiping the hardworking sweat from his brow. “Honesty is the best policy, but who can live honestly with you?”
You do the work of four farmhands. You do not find that ironic.
“WHO AM I?” you yell to the sky. The words reverberate in the night. Around you, the world is still.
The stars say nothing.
“Who am I?” you ask, your head pillowed on his lap. The fire flickers in the fireplace. Orange flame reflects on his bare head.
“You’re Clark,” he says, carding his fingers through your hair.
You shift on the leather couch. You forget, with him, words have to be specific. “What am I?”
He answers, “Loved.”
You don’t think he understands what you’re asking, but then you look into his eyes and see that he knows.
You sleep well that night.