By Emma Kim
I always knew that I was different. Kids stared at me, talked behind my back, and my parents wouldn’t let me out of my room and spend time with the neighborhood kids. All I wanted was to go outside and play hide and seek or tag with the others just to be friends. Even if I desperately wanted to, I knew I couldn’t.
The kids at school were another level of horrible. Every day, I would hear the same crowd of jeering laughter as they pointed at me. And this treatment wasn’t limited to just the kids. Even the teachers would treat me like a disease, avoiding me at all costs. They all glared at me, spoke behind my back, and sometimes would call me names, calling me a freak or a monster. I understood why.
I had unexplainable powers ever since I was born. I don’t know when it started or how, but ever since birth, I remember having a strange ability to be able to manipulate elements to any extent. Of course, I had told everyone I knew about this innate skill ever since I realized that I was different. I thought maybe it made me unique.
Instead, I was met with humiliation and harassment. On the first day of school, I walked into school already filled with first-day nervousness and excitement. I wondered if I would be able to make friends, if the kids would like me, or if I would fit in. I practiced what I would say before I would walk into the classroom and show all my new friends my powers. And with that in mind, I walked into the classroom.
At first, everything was fine. My classmates surrounded me and the classroom was filled with laughter. That all changed when I proposed that I would show them my powers. They initially looked at me in puzzlement, before just laughing it off, thinking it was a joke. However, as I started to manipulate the water inside a classmate’s water bottle, everyone started to back away. They started whispering, and soon enough, the whispering turned to muttering, and the muttering to panicked screaming. Everyone was full of horror at what was happening. From my memories of that incident, all I can remember are shadows of my peers, staring at me in shock and running away from me as they ran towards the teachers.
I was all alone. I didn’t have any friends or teachers that could help or support me. They would not be able to relate, nor did they understand what I was going through. I know that having extraordinary powers should be considered a gift, but I didn’t feel gifted. I felt cursed. If this was what it was to be gifted, if this was the price to pay to be different, I’d rather just be like everyone else. I always wondered what it would be like to be like everyone else. To go to the playground with neighborhood kids, to go to school without the students bullying me, and to go outside freely. I was shunned, and I knew that there was an invisible wall around me separating me from the outside world.
One day, this all changed. The school had erupted into a flaming fire. Everyone evacuated the campus, and from the outside, it seemed unstoppable, flames consuming the building with every passing second. Fire trucks aimed to stop the fire, yet to no avail. Furrowed brows and downturned lips lined the faces standing outside staring at our burning school, our hearts beating fast at the uncertainty of what was to happen. Although they did segregate me and spit out rude comments at me, I was still scared and worried about my classmates. Without anything seeming to stop the glowing fire, I decided to step in. I got the courage and willingness to walk into the school building as the scorching heat enveloped me. I closed my eyes, stood in the middle of the house, and focused on the supernatural, doing everything to try to stop the fire. But, nothing. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t do it. Was I a failure, not even being able to help my classmates? As I dreamt of what the fire could cause, a teardrop fell from my eyes, dropping to the ground. And with that single teardrop, water flooded everywhere. This abruptly stopped the fire.
I walked out while everyone stared at me. I wondered what they were staring at me for and if they were looking at me in disgust and horror yet again. But this time, their eyes were filled with admiration and relief. In that moment, I realized that I was different. But that I could make a difference by being unique. Being different didn’t have to necessarily be a negative thing, although it was an inconvenience at times, I could make a difference.