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|Nobody else seemed to be home, but the house lacked any sense of loneliness. I followed his dense bulk as he wined his way up two flights of stairs towards his equally massive bedroom. The hallways were spacious and lined with family portraits. Beautiful images of well-dressed people, arranged in every possible arrangement that a family of four could stand in. His mom, his dad, his brother, and him. The difference in his current appearance was astounding: He was a skinny kid once, just like his brother, just like me. But if you saw him now... He was not much taller than I was, probably four inches, but was as wide abreast as two were. His shoulders nearly knocked the frames off kilter as he sauntered through the hall. He cast an imposing shadow that seemed to swallow the narrow column of light that slipped between his massive, rubbing thighs and calves.
He pushed past a narrow doorframe, almost leaning to angle his way in. I continued to follow him, a little sheepish at my own presumptions, but confident that, somehow, he had called me here to do this. He turned, lowered his shoulders, bending at his waist and offered a bow of introduction as I entered his room.
A lavish room, brightly lit, doubled in size by a large, sliding mirror closet door, soft red walls, complimenting carpet and linens of tan and off white. A room that lacked want, each wall was lined with book shelves racked full of novels, collectable toys, gadgets and shinning things, or posters of cars, sports, and the newest anime trends. His bed leaned against the wall, opposite a modern-style desk complete with a fancy 20-inch, flat-screen monitor that doubled as his T.V. He plopped himself on his bed. I could swear it listed, trying to bare his weight. The carpet, plush and clean, suited my needs.
We sat this way for what must have been a minute before it got uncomfortable. He wasted no time after that.
"Craig, I want to tell you something." What he could have told me were a number of things. What I wanted him to tell me was another set of things. What he did tell me, I already knew. But that's what he was getting at.
"Craig, I have the ability to give you what you want," he started out. The feeling was completely mystical. I surged with doubt, but, somewhere, from the back of my mind, I could feel the doubt being suppressed. I already knew this, I just waited till now to know it. I sat, mesmerized, nodding silently.
"Well, that's not entirely true," he mused. "It only works for certain people, and I'm not quite sure what makes certain people more accessible than others, but I think it has to do with a willingness to believe." His next few sentences were a blur of half-musings and philosophical ponderings, all things that blended together in my mind towards a nauseous feeling off the mental flu. A warmth pressed heavily upon my frontal lobe and thinking became laborious like pulling one's hair out of syrup. His brooding mood was a tangible force, thick, nearly immobile. I understood, but heard nothing. I comprehended, but learned nothing. Understanding and comprehending were given, yet unnecessary. But questions still lingered.
He roused himself from his musings and smiled at me, knowing that I knew, but knowing, at the same time, that it was impossible for me to know.
"I can grant those willing, a glimpse of their desires. The effect is heavily dependent upon the recipient, but I think you, and Coach Bryce, for that matter, are two of my most adept guinea pigs. My brother, on the other hand, not so open, not so willing, but we'll see," he giggled. Obviously an inside joke. "Now, don't get carried away with imagining the possibilities," he warned. "I can only manifest and amplify what you think you want, but I need to know you want it. I don't read minds but I have learned, as you probably know, when I reach out to you to give you what you want you can read mine. Sometimes it manifests itself in an audible voice, sometimes in visions, and sometimes, it's just a feeling, you know?" If I didn't know any better, I'd be confused. "And yes, that means that I can't do anything to you that you don't want me to do," he reassured me.
There was a long silence as he let what I know meet with what I knew. Nothing seemed to click, despite my knowing all these things. Understanding was an archipelago of rich and beautiful islands separated by inches of black, whirling mire.
"Did you like your hour with Bryce? I did that for you."
"What? I thought you said..."
"Well," he paused, "okay, so I set the situation up, but you two took to it like fish in water. Didn't you think that knot in the back was a cleaver idea?"
"I suppose, but couldn't you have done it without the pain," I asked.
"Hey, I don't make any decisions for you, I can just amplify the physiology and feelings you feel. And, you know, sometimes, temporary discomfort leads to greater pleasure. It can even show you how to appreciate the happy times more, don't you think?"
How could I disagree? I barely knew what he was talking about. I shrugged my shoulders, accepting philosophical defeat.
"And that sunset," he continued anyway, "what did you think of that sunset? Wasn't it amazing?"
"You did that too," I asked, surprised.
"Well, no, I'm not God, silly." He messed with my hair. "But it was a beaut, wasn't it?"
I shrugged my shoulders again. "I guess. Yeah, actually. Yes."
I sat there, thinking of all the wonderful possibilities. I could feel Shane's warmth, reach out to me, like it did back at school. He wanted to know what I was thinking. He wanted to know what he could do to help. One question kept coming to mind, so I asked it: "why me? Well, I know why me, but why do you want to do this," I asked.
"Well, that's a complicated question," he paused. I could feel him mentally withdraw. "I don't know why. I guess, making other people feel good makes me feel good." That could have been a totally washed out, feel-good answer if it wasn't immediately confirmed by his warm countenance. The questions returned to the back of my consciousness: "what can I do for you?" "how can I help?" "what do you want most?"
"Man, sometimes I wish," I stammered, "sometimes I wish that I was big and strong like you. That way I'd be big and confident and all my problems would just go away."
He pondered my words for a short while, turning over their meaning with a shift of his head. "Is that what you think," he asked finally.
Reluctant to fall into verbal traps I simply nodded my head, firmly, adamantly.
"Were you the biggest and strongest, or smallest and smartest man I think there's always something to find displeasure in," he posited. "There's always a downside to anything our minds can imagine."
"Well, you wouldn't know what its like to not have everything you've ever wanted," I said, gesturing at his plaques, his toys, his computer, his body.
"We'll see," was his only response.
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