He remembered the first time he found The Clarity. He couldn't have been more than 3 years old and he was walking with his mother through a shopping mall, holding her hand as he always did. Close by there was another mother and her daughter by the fountain talking with each other. It was strange sounds at first, but then he reached out to understand what they were saying, and then he knew. They were talking about the strange american waffles they had just had for breakfast.
He asked his mother "What does 'american' mean?"
His mother looked down at him, followed his eyes to the other mother and child, and she said comfortingly to him "They are speaking French, which is why you don't understand them". And then he replied. "But they are talking about the strange american waffles they had for breakfast".
This caused his mother to laugh, and rub his hair with her hand.
Of course. He was only 3. She looked down at him smiling and said "You sure do have an imagination, little man", then took his hand and led him away. That is the last he saw of the mother and daughter, though he looked ahead for them, and knew that they would have a nice day together.
It was strange, that first moment of self-recognition, and his mom acting that she might not have been able to understand the mother and daughter like he could. Over the following weeks, He would turn it over in his mind, and kept it there for awhile, and would look at it every now and then, like the colored pebbles he found in his back yard, and put in the shoebox under his bed.
Then, the next time it happened, he was sitting with his father, and his father was reading him a bedtime story about space travel, and about the many planets circling the sun. He was interested, so reached out , and found that there was something larger out there circling the sun, way beyond the planets. Something more terrifying, so he asked his father "what is that big thing out there, further out than the planets, Dad?".
His father gave him a perplexed look, and then a warm smile, and tousled his hair. Again, with the hair. Maybe that's what adults do. "Interesting idea, son. Maybe one day you can write a story about it." Then he knew his father didn't understand, but he could not explain this to his father, because it would require explaining how he knew, and he didn't have the words for that. And without the words, he was beginning to wonder if he could even understand it himself.
And then there were other things. He would pick up a rock, and reach out, and then know what it was made of and where it was from. It was interesting that everything has a history and a story. But his friends didn't seem to know or care about that stuff. Sometimes he would tell them a bit of the story, but then they would laugh and move on. They were always in a hurry together, for the next thing. Rocks were just things you threw and then forgot about.
Or, sometimes he would walk by someone in a crowd, and if they looked interesting enough, he would reach out, and then he would know who they were, and their parents, and their parent's parents. He learned that he could go as far back or forward as he wanted. It was all there.
Everyone had a story as well, just like the rocks. He got to Know people that way.
He realized that he could Know things that other people didn't. And it wasn't like he tried to know those things. It was just that he reached out and they were there. Knowing something was like a river flowing around him. An invisible swirling mass. When he wanted to Know something, he just reached out, and it was there waiting for him.
He never told anybody he could Know things, even his parents. Whenever he got close, they always laugh, and maybe do the hair thing. He sure could tell stories, and he just had a wild imagination. He was young, after all, and no one ever took his stories seriously anyway. After awhile, he just didn't share anything so much about what he knew, but could not explain. It stopped people from shaking their heads at him.
When he was ten, he decided to stop trying to Know people also. He would meet someone and like them, but when he would reach out he would then know that their children would one day die in a car accident, or that maybe a person he reached out about he would learn secretly liked to kill small animals. Things like that. You know things like that, and you can't look in their eyes, anymore. It wasn't good, so he just decided one day to stay away from reaching out about most people.
Sometimes It was better to just not to know.
It never did him lot of good to reach out to things in school, either. They would be studying something like biology, and he would start to reach out and begin to look at the evolutionary history of a particular species and he would get lost in that, and then not be able to give the more simple answer that the teacher was looking for out of the textbook. The main problem was that the textbooks didn't tell him anything interesting. They were just words that pointed to things. The other problem was that, When he Reached Out, He didn't have the words to explain the things he found. So in the end, he just tried to read the textbook like all the other kids, and he only did ok on his tests. Not great, but ok.
He knew that he was Different. He was a lonely island of awareness, with everyone else just unconsciously going about their lives around him, and him with his Knowing Things, or even sometimes intentionally not knowing what he knew. He sometimes hated what he knew.
But even with all that, he realized that he couldn't stop what was inside of him. The only time he allowed himself to reach out was at night when he was alone with the freedom of his thoughts and his curiosity. Many things interested him. Animals and Trees, Clocks and Weather Systems. The forging of planets and continents. History. The Endless Stars, and the cycles that lay beyond the edges of the universe. At night, in the darkness of his room, he would let his mind wander through The Clarity, and drift in that river of knowledge, like floating on his back on a moonless summer night, gazing up at the stars. It went forever.
It was utterly amazing. All those things without words, so he that he had to put his own words to them to begin to understand them. The Swirling. The Pulsation. The Burst. The Cycles.
The Swirling Ecosystems. The movement of stars against the walls of Darkness and Silence, and the Cycles beyond. The Thread of Time, frayed as it was on each end, and The Flashing holding those frayed ends in place.
He could know all these things, but could never explain them.
As he got older, he began to read scientific research papers online, and every once in awhile, he would send out a few anonymous thoughts to the author of a paper, sort of pointing them in the right direction. Sometimes he could tell that they understood something that he tried to explain, and it made him feel good that he could help, when he saw in their later papers that they took his advice.
Then one day, when he was 17 years old, he was walking down the street, and a pretty girl he didn't know smiled at him. Him, of all people. Dorky Him. His heart raced. There became a loud ringing in both of his ears. He couldn't help it. He reached out and knew that for her it was only a momentary smile, one quickly given, and then just as quickly forgotten, but it was not that way for him. He walked for awhile, absorbed in the thought of her. Then he stepped out onto the street, and it was then that a delivery truck ran him over. Killed him right then and there. And then he was in the river again.
Of course his parents grieved for him at his funeral, but it was not like he was in any kind of place to tell them that it was ok. Then the river pulled him away from all that. His parents, the girl, and who he was.
It was funny. What it was.
That. Whatever it was.
He drifted beyond the Cycles. Beyond the Frayed Ends.
Then, after awhile.