A girl with an unfortunate name and an interesting gift.
Brady Downing. I think my mother had some sick sense of humor in naming me. Most women don’t know what it’s like getting that annoying sales call at four in the afternoon, just in the middle of my workout time. Not simply because I get the phone call, but because they ask for “Mr. Brady Downing.” I can hear my mother laughing from her grave every time I see “unknown caller” flash on my ringing phone.
However, that has nothing to do with my story. I might veer away on tangents from time to time, so it is best to keep that in mind.
I never thought much of myself until I turned thirteen and realized that there might be something a bit odd about me. I don’t believe anyone is normal. Trust me, no one is. However, there are a few of us that are a little more . . . strange.
When I turned thirteen I began having incredible dreams. At first, like anyone else, I brushed them off as a normal part of adolescence and thought nothing more of it. It wasn’t until after six months of hijacked dreams that I noticed they were not just dreams. Premonitions, past life memories, links with other minds, all of these I crossed off my list and left me wondering what the hell was going on.
My parents spent far too much money and dragged me to far too many doctors, therapists, and even psychics than I ever wanted to see. None of these people were of any help to me in solving the mystery of my dreaming. I began keeping journals, writing every detail that came to mind when recalling them. By the time I graduated, I had over a hundred notebooks scrawled with what I thought was just a vivid imagination.
After high school, having no reason to remain in Mount Nemo, I chose a random university in a random city and never gave it a second thought. My mother had passed by then, cancer having slowly eaten her alive, the most excruciating process which led to my feeling supremely guilty for having wallowed in my own sadness over it. My father all but disappeared into his own world of suffering and soon followed her with a bottle of whiskey in hand and a mouth full of sleeping pills. I discovered then that life is never quite as depressing as when you stake your entire existence on the survival of one human being.
As awful as my teenage years may have been, and as life-shattering as it is to have lost both parents in such quick succession, I refused to remain imprisoned by my anger and grief and continued to pursue my future. So there I was, four hundred dollars worth of texts books stacked on my desk and over four thousand dollars in therapy in my past. I was ready to move on.
My chosen place of study, Louisiana State University, boasted some of the best affordable facilities for a young orphan like myself. I hesitate to mention that it also ranked as one of the top ten party schools in the nation. I might have enjoyed a few blurry nights of half-remembered partying, but much to my grandparents’ relief, I managed to remain relatively well-behaved and sober.
My roommate, bless her heart as I’ve heard some southerners say of the dim-witted, could not say the same for herself. Debbie Burkhart was as beautiful as she was stupid. Big brown eyes, thick dark hair, and a pair of breasts that distracted even the least interested, she made a habit out of paying the smarter members of her circle of friends to do her class assignments for her. I must admit with a mild case of regret that I took her up on the offer for easy money on more than one occasion.
Copyright © 2015 by Sophie Giroir