My sophomore psych teacher, Mr. Polselli, says knowledge is crucial to understanding the workings of the human brain, but I swear to dog, I don’t want any more knowledge about this.
Every few days I see it. Sometimes it’s just a picture, like on that billboard we pass on the way to school. And other times it’s moving, like on a screen. A careening truck hits a building and explodes. Then nine body bags in the snow.
It’s like a movie trailer with no sound, no credits. And nobody sees it but me.
• • •
Some days after psych class I hang around by the door of Mr. Polselli’s room for a minute, thinking that if I have a mental illness, he’s the one who’ll be able to tell me. But every time I almost mention it, it sounds too weird to say. So, uh, Mr. Polselli, when other people see the “turn off your cell phones” screen in the movie theater, I see an extra five-second movie trailer. Er . . . and did I mention I see stills of it on the billboard by my house? You see Jose Cuervo, I see a truck hitting a building and everything exploding. Is that normal?
The first time was in the theater on the one holiday that our parents don’t make us work—Christmas Day. I poked my younger sister, Rowan. “Did you see that?”
She did this eyebrow thing that basically says she thinks I’m an idiot. “See what?”
“The explosion,” I said softly.
“You’re on drugs.” Rowan turned to our older brother, Trey, and said, “Jules is on drugs.”
Trey leaned over Rowan to look at me. “Don’t do drugs,” he said seriously. “Our family has enough problems.”
I rolled my eyes and sat back in my seat as the real movie trailers started. “No kidding,” I muttered. And I reasoned with myself. The day before I’d almost been robbed while doing a pizza delivery. Maybe I was still traumatized.
I just wanted to forget about it all.
But then on MLK Day this stupid vision thing decided to get personal.