alright. i saw a documentary for class called the celluloid closet narrated by lily tomlin: great movie, watch it. in the film, they describe movies in the earlier times of hollywood as only using their lgtbq+ characters as villains are as the crazy people. that will not be this. this is just a dream sequence.
I didn’t want to wake up from my dream. And I knew it was a dream because I was in charge of more than my own life. I felt like a villain, but who even wants to be the villain when there are alternatives. I’ve learned through movies and books that being evil gets you places, even if there will be a driving force barreling at you, ready to take you out in any way possible. But even when you’re the villain, you have a few good years until the time comes that you’ll be dethroned.
I was walking down the sidewalk, just like my normal days back on campus. It was like an out of body experience and I was watching myself stroll leisurely on my way. I walked with courage and confidence, even dressed with an overpriced fabric thing that reminded me of a cape. My hair was a mess and I wore dark sunglasses, but I also donned a smirk. I waited to see what my auto-piloted body would do. And things happened. I flourished my hands in ways I’d never done before and the sidewalk in front of me cleared. By cleared, I mean students thrown. They were tumbling to lawn on the left and falling down hard on the road to the right, causing oncoming cars to swerve out of their direct path as they hit the street. People looked at me. They stared, trying to figure out what had even happened, but their eyes all came right to me. One guy, a bigger frat boy, came charging at me once he got to his feet. With both hands, I gently lifted him from the ground and whipped his body at the closest tree, watching him go limp as he landed on the grass once again. That’s when the screaming started.
“You need to realize that there’s nothing you can do,” I said in a calm voice. After I closed my mouth, though, a rock came soaring toward me; a quick flick of the wrist had it shooting back to the girl it had come from, causing her to bleed even more than she had been.
“It’s not like I actually care,” I said, continuing my walk. Anyone dialing phones had lost them, screens smashed on the pavement. For the added pleasure of invoking fear, I snapped and disappeared in my cloud of black smoke. Wherever I’d land, I’d keep wreaking havoc because havoc called my name.
Owen was waiting in our living room when I appeared, spreading what seemed like soot everywhere. He was watching TV and currently the local news channel was broadcasting something about me. He looked almost distraught, but very confused. He immediately tried to change the channel to something less incriminating of me, but I put it back because I didn’t have a problem with it.
“Ezra, what did you do? What happened?”
I took my sunglasses off and looked directly in his eyes. “Owen, I didn’t apologize for being different. That’s what happened.”
“So you killed someone? That’s what you felt like doing now that you came to terms with whatever the hell you can actually do? Ezra, this is serious!”
Owen pushed himself out his chair and he gently held on to my shoulders. I eyed both hands one at a time and slowly slipped out of his grip and replaced my sunglasses and I gave a gave small shove without even touching him.
“Owen, it’s not like I don’t have feelings for you, but at this moment, I’m not really feeling it. I’m tired of hiding. If you were in my shoes, wouldn’t you be too?”
“But, Ezra,” he was almost crying as he spoke, “you don’t have to be the bad guy. You didn’t have to do what you did. There’s a reason why I love you, but your… abilities, they aren’t it. I love you for your kindness and your caring heart, Ezra. This isn’t you.”
“Owen, what if I was meant to be the villain? You don’t know what it’s like living with these powers. You really think that the first thing I want to do is help people? Haven’t you ever wondered what you would do if you were ever Darth Fucking Vader? I’m basically him, minus the robot body and unbeatable sword!”
Owen whispered something that I couldn’t hear.
“What did you say?” With caution, I pulled him close, his feet dragging across the carpet. “Tell me what you whispered.”
He didn’t make eye contact. “I said that I’ve never seen Star Wars.”
With a quick whip, I threw him to the couch. “You don’t have to know the entire franchise to know one goddamn character.”
Owen didn’t speak. His eyes were wide and filled to the brim with horror.
“Don’t look at like that. If I actually wanted to hurt you, there’s a perfectly good refrigerator that probably wouldn’t have been dented if I threw you at it.”
Just as if it were planned, Gavin and Mason opened the front door, talking about the things they heard about me. They stopped when their eyes fell on me, standing in the middle of the room with a frightened Owen cowering on the couch.
“You know, I always hated you two,” I groaned.
Before they could speak, both were falling over the apartment’s doorway balcony. Owen stayed put while I inspected the scene. Gavin was still, but Mason was trying to crawl away with an open wound on the side of his head and visible scrapes from the parking lot pavement as he tried to pull himself away. He wasn’t going to get anywhere, so I left.
“There’s really nothing else I wanna do here, Owen. I’m out. I don’t know what I’m gonna do, but I know for sure that I am all set,” a bag slid across the floor from my bedroom and stopped at me feet, “and if you hate me now, I’m sorry. Honestly, I think I love you, but we’re now going in two different directions and I don’t want you around. I don’t want you to remind me of things that I could have had if I stayed in hiding. I’m going to miss you, but I’m going back to being alone. Don’t worry about me.”
Owen stayed quiet, but tears streamed down his face. Before he could get up again, I was gone. And that was it.
I woke up in a tangle of blankets in my bed at home with pillows strewn across my room and my hair matted in sweaty knots. My bed was uneven and crooked. With a dip of my head, I peered below and pulled out a worn, stuffed cat Owen had bought me for Christmas in our second year. I tugged a sheet over my topless body and squeezed the cat tight to my chest and held on until I fell back into an uncomfortable sleep.