Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Microstory 1033: Warren

I was always a very gullible child, and it’s something I’m proud to be over now. Any number of factors went into me having severe trust issues; some of it probably genetic, but most of it had to do with how I was raised. I was born to an incredibly loving family, but I was also very sheltered. My family didn’t ever want to worry me, or disappoint me, so they just held onto every lie they thought would make me feel better. I was in double digits before a classmate callously, but methodically, explained to me how it would be physically impossible for Santa Claus to exist. I once missed an entire week of school because someone told me the government came up with a new holiday that lasted for six days. Conversely, I’ve come in to school on an embarrassing number of Saturdays. Still my parents skirted the issue, and didn’t try to do anything to help me get past this huge character flaw. I am nearing high school graduation, and I would not have been prepared for the real world if not for Viola. The worst thing that I ever let happen to me was the day after the end of middle school. I was walking my dog around Master Creek when I ran into a couple of kids from school who were acutely aware of my naïveté. You may think it’s bad that you can’t maintain healthy relationships, because some trauma has caused you to be too suspicious of others, but try having the exact opposite problem. Trust me, mine was worse. You don’t know what bad is. These kids convinced me that they found plants that were a special kind of lettuce that was genetically combined with sugar cane, which made it sweet. Well, I think you know where this is going. The plant turned out to be poison sumac. Don’t blame the kids, though. Both of them had experienced rashes on their skin before, and knew how easy it was to treat. What they didn’t realize is how much worse it can be for certain others, and when ingested.

They freaked out, but did the right thing, by calling emergency services, and getting me to a hospital. As you can see, I survived, and though I wouldn’t recommend it, I’m better than I ever was. Other than the bullies—who grew up to be two of the most generous and kind people you’ll ever meet, in part thanks to the horror they were responsible for—one other classmate came to visit me in the hospital. Yes, it was Viola Woods. She had heard what happened, and seemed to have some drive to keep it from happening ever again. She was perfectly normal when she walked into the room, but my mother thought one or both of us had a crush on the other, and wanted to give us some privacy. That was when Viola changed. She started breathing very deliberately and deeply. She shut her eyes on every exhale, and stared into mine with each exhale. Once she had completed her preparations, she placed her hands under my neck, and spoke. She gently, but firmly, ordered me to be more careful. She told me that some people can be trusted some of the time, but no one can be trusted all of the time. She told me to educate myself in a number of subjects, so that when I hear fake news—yeah, she used the term long before it became a political buzzword—I know how to debunk it. It may seem silly, but everything changed for me that day. I swear to God, I could literally feel my brain rewiring itself, absorbing all of her instructions as irrefutable. This was just advice, I cannot go against her commands. The last thing she did was give me a peck on the lips, which immediately relieved me of the pain the poison had caused. Then we never spoke again. I don’t know what she is, but she couldn’t be quite human. I’m not even convinced she’s really dead, because I don’t trust the people who are telling us that.

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