It was somewhat sad that Dad was never able to get rid of all this stuff, but instead left it out here to rot slowly. I was sure he couldn’t stomach the thought of just throwing it all out, but how was that better?
Dad...I didn’t want to think about him yet.
My mind went back to Hope, making me grind my teeth.
I should remind her that technically I’m the oldest...It’s not her place to tell me what to do...If anything it was the other way around...She’d probably just smile at me in that annoying way of hers...
“Damn it!” I swore and threw the hand shovel as hard as I could. I watched it sail through the air and over the garden wall, feeling only slightly better.
I turned back to the potting bench, looking for something else to take my frustrations out on. I picked up one of the chipped flowerpots, feeling the weight of it in my hand.
“Okay, I surrender!” A voice called from the side garden gate.
I dropped the pot and turned just as Cassius came through the gate twirling my discarded hand shovel between his fingers
“Did you lose something?” He asked with his eyes twinkling.
I took the shovel and blushed, feeling the heat coming to my cheeks as I returned it to the bench. “Sorry.”
“Are you alright?”
I felt a nervous flutter in my stomach as he moved closer. I twisted my hands together uselessly, “I’m fine...I just sort of hate my life right now.”
“Do you want to talk about it?” He asked, kindness and concern puckering his brow.
I looked away, glancing around to the porch and back door.
“I’m not supposed to be talking to you at all,” I confessed.
He tilted his head, “Really?”
I nodded, “My sister said it was too dangerous.”
The soft rumbling of his muffled laughter seemed to reach out and vibrate up through me.
“Do I look dangerous?” He asked.
I looked Cassius up and down, settling on his bright blue eyes.
“No,” I mumbled.
“You seem to be struggling,” Cassius explained. “And that is my calling...To help my fellow man.”
I shook my head, “But I don’t believe the things you do.”
“I’m not asking you to, but I think you need to talk to someone.”
I looked around, feeling an almost guilty pleasure in disobeying.
“Okay,” I agreed. “But not here.”
“Okay,” he said with a warm smile. “Come over to the church.”
“I couldn’t. Like I said, I don’t believe what you do.”
“I told you that don’t matter, but we can go wherever you want.”
I glanced back around to the porch even though I knew Hope was occupied with the lawyer and would be for hours.
“It has to be somewhere no one will see me talking to you,” I explained, even though part of me wanted to be caught.
Cassius nodded, “How about the churchyard? It’s just on the other side of the wall and the shrubs are so high no one will see you.”
“You don’t think it’s disrespectful?”
“If you’re not part of the church, then it’s just a yard.”
I followed him out of my own gate and out into the alley that ran to the side of my home and behind his church. He led me through a plain iron gate and into the dark shade of a privet hedge. He guided me into a nook where a small concrete bench stood surrounded by statues of what I assumed where saints.
“Please sit,” Cassius said as he sat down on the bench and patted the space beside him. “Tell me what troubles you.”
I sat down, careful not to let our legs or shoulders touch. I twisted my hands in my lap, “Well, everything is just different. Dad is gone and Hope is just being impossible.”
“Hope is your sister?”
Cassius nodded, “What are you...Twenty-two, Twenty-three?”
“Why don’t you move out on your own?”
I looked up at him shocked, but then remembered he didn’t know anything about the gifted or our ways.
“I can’t,” I replied.
“It’s not our way...It’s not safe.”
Cassius narrowed his eyes, “I don’t understand.”
I took a deep breath and reached for his hand, my heart pounding so loudly I almost forgot what I was doing. It took a moment for the visions to come, flashes of what his life had been before he came to Corydon.
“You were sent here as a punishment...There is an old man in a church...He liked you...But he died...Then you came here...You saw me and hope at the funeral...And flowers...You were bringing flowers to an old woman’s grave...”
Cassius sat silent, still holding my hand. I could feel him trembling.
“See, that’s what I can do,” I explained. “I can see into a person’s past and Hope can see into a person’s future. All our lives we’ve been told that the only way we can be safe is if we stay with our own kind.”
“Yes,” I mumbled. “Our kind. You know, others that are like us.”
He nodded, continuing to stare down at his hand in mine. I tried to release his, but he held tight. Finally, he took a deep breath and sighed.
“God has given you an amazing gift,” he said. “But it’s making you a prisoner.”
I nodded and slipped my hand from his. It felt so awkward now, him knowing my secret and being what he was. Could I really trust him?
I lifted my head and looked out over the yard to the brilliant pink roses growing at the feet of a vacant eyed saint.
“Your roses are beautiful,” I mumbled, regretting even coming here.
He turned to me, about to say something when a voice called out from the other side of the wall.
“Faith? Are you out here?”
I breathed a sigh of relief. I didn’t want to know what it was he was going to say next. “I have to go.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes,” I said as I stood, “But it was nice to have someone to talk to Cassius—Or do I have to call you Father now?”
“Cassius is fine and we can talk anytime,” he said smiling up at me.
I walked toward the gate, looking back at him once I was safely on the outside. He sat on the bench, still looking after me.