My daughter was asleep when I got home; she had indeed started to get fussy with a headache almost immediately, and her mother had nursed her to sleep.
I stood in the bedroom doorway, looking at her small, sprawled form on the bed. She was always so angelic looking when she was asleep, her fine hair blown out whispy in all directions, the light blue veins standing out against her pale eyelids. I turned to my wife and tried to give her a hug. She put her hand on my chest with a frown.
"No. Not yet. I am NOT ready."
We went together into the living room and sat on our old threadbare couch. My wife grabbed a throw pillow and cradled it to her chest, drawing her legs up between us. she glared at the wall for a minute while the silence spooled uncomfortably out.
"Do you remember when we were dating? When you first told me about this weird ability of yours?"
"Of course I do. You didn't believe me, but I never blamed you for that."
"I almost broke up with you. It was like getting told that someone I let into my house just happened to eat faces on the weekend. It wasn't a normal thing for a person to say. I thought you were crazy."
"Well, the jury's still out on-"
She turned to look me in the eye.
"Of course I didn't believe you. It was crazy then and it's still crazy. If I hadn't seen you do it I wouldn't believe it. I learned to live with it just like I learned to live with all the other things that go into a relationship. You leaving your socks on the floor, you forgetting to bring the cat's food in, you being a crazy psychic freak."
It was like a hard slap. I frowned; I could feel my face growing red.
"That is a hell of a thing to say to a guy. I didn't ask to be born like this, you know. I never asked for our kid to be born like this. And I. Am not. Crazy."
"No, of course you're not actually crazy, and I know you're not a freak either. It's just something we both have had to learn to live with. I had just hoped that we could both just put that behind us, maybe just pretend it never happened."
"Pretend it never happened? This isn't an event you're talking about, this is my brain chemistry, something that's been happening to me as long as I can remember! Hell, for all I know it's something that happened to my dad, too! Who knows how far it goes back? So thank you for being so fucking magnanimous that you could learn to live with me on the condition that we pretend this isn't real!"
I stood up and stalked into the kitchen. She didn't follow. I paced around in a circle and then turned back to the living room.
"You wanna know what the absolute bitch of it is? It's that I don't know how to make it stop, okay? I have to live with this in my head! I'm so sorry that your life has been made so fucking rough by not having any weird-ass radio buzzing inside your skull. I'm sorry that you have to be so miserable married to a fucking freak, how about that?"
She turned and glared at me.
"That is not fair. I love you and I love our daughter. You know what I meant."
"Oh sure, sure, I know what you meant."
"You know what? Screw you, all right? This isn't easy for me, either! What if someday you get taken away from me? What if they cut you open and we never see you again?"
"Oh, don't get your hopes up; they'll probably dissect you on the next table over to try and find out if it's a psychic STD, sweetheart."
"Oh, just fuck off. I can't talk to you right now."
We both stared daggers at each other for a few seconds before a tiny voice said, "Da?"
We turned to see our daughter in the bedroom doorway, her hair disheveled, her big brown eyes ringed with red.
I walked over and scooped her up, blowing a zerbert into her tummy. She giggled and pushed at me with her tiny, strong hands.
"Did you have a bad dream, mama? Don't worry, Da is home now."
I turned to look at my wife as my daughter nestled into the crook of my neck and sighed.
She gave me a sad smile, her eyes bright and shiny with tears.
"Don't worry, love. I won't let anyone ever take me away. I won't let anyone ever hurt our daughter. I'm psychic, remember? It's high time I started figuring out exactly how this works and make it work for us."
That was the afternoon that everything started changing.