I was sitting alone at the end of the playground while the rest of my third grade class enjoyed recess. I tried to stay as far from them as possible, hoping they would just ignore me. Most days this was true, but some days I wasn't so lucky. Some days I was their target for cruel words and actions.
Today was going to be one of those days.
I sat with my back to the playground, drawing in the dirt with a stick. I didn't notice them approaching from behind until my face was already in the dirt, ruining my drawing.
"What are you doing over here stupid?"
"She's so weird."
"What's a matter weirdo? Why don't you have any friends?"
I pushed myself up, tears brimming in my eyes. It wasn't uncommon for me to get pushed down and have mean things said to me by my classmates, but it didn't make it hurt any less. I stood up and faced them defiantly, willing the tears not to spill over and make me look weak.
"Aww look she's gonna cry! What a baby!"
That was the day it happened. Everything about my life was about to change forever.
I gave them the hardest glare I could muster without crying, anger welling up in me. They just laughed and pointed, further fueling my hatred for them. I began taking deep breaths, but instead of calming me it had the opposite effect. I got angrier and angrier until I could almost taste it.
'I wish they would just leave me alone. I wish I could show them! I wish I could just push THEM over!' As soon as I finished that thought, an invisible force knocked all three of them over. Almost like a strong gust of wind. They all looked at me with fear in their eyes before they took off back to their friends.
I liked to have thought it was coincidence. After that day however, more and more of those coincidences occurred. It was almost as if when I willed it hard enough, I could make things happen.
I had no idea how right I was.
I walked through the sidewalks on my way home, blending with the rest of the foot traffic. The streets of Chicago were always busy no matter the time of day. I owned a car, but most of the time I was just better off walking. The streets are always jam packed with drivers, especially during rush hour. I could usually make it to and from my destinations quicker on foot.
Besides the obvious benefits to walking, it provided me with one other advantage; blending in. I was much harder to pick out of a tightly packed sidewalk than in my vehicle. I'm not trying to hide out of fear, oh no. I'm not afraid of anyone. I'm trying to hide out of irritation. For weeks now I've been avoiding these government agents that refuse to take no for an answer. It's getting really annoying.
About a month ago I was on my way out of work when an official looking man in a nice suit approached me. At first I was slightly concerned, not sure what someone like him wanted with me. He introduced himself as Agent Phil Coulson, from the something or other something something agency that I had never heard of, nor cared about. He demanded to speak to me in private and wouldn't stop following me.
By the time I got tired of his persistence and agreed to indulge him just to shut him up, we were already only a block from my apartment. I told him to follow me, not like he wasn't already, and lead him to my apartment complex. He finally shut up and after a quiet elevator ride to the 13th floor, I unlocked my door and he followed me inside.
He proceeded to tell me about a new program they were trying out called the Avengers Initiative. He called it a defense program but it sounded like the government's personal collection of fighters to me. Wondering why I would even be looked at for something like this, I told him my only fighting experience was in martial arts, and even that was rudimentary.
"I think you have the wrong girl Agent Coulson, the only experience I have is in martial arts and that's only a green belt." That probably came out with a little more derision than necessary, but they clearly haven't done their homework if they thought I could do anything for them.
"We know a lot more about you than you think Ms. Farrelly." He removed a file from his briefcase and pushed it into my hands, gesturing for me to open it. I quirked my eyebrow at him but did as he asked, and my breath caught in my throat as I read the first few lines. I looked back at him with anger written on my face.
"What the hell is this!?" his smirk only made me angrier as I read on.
"We've been watching you for a long time Shea. Don't think we don't know all about you." Agent Coulson's eyes held sincerity as I looked from him to the file, then back to him and the file again.
"Get out." I was angry, oh so angry. "I don't know how you got this information or why you've been tailing me for what looks like years, but I want you to leave. NOW." My tone was quiet but dangerous. I glared at him and walked towards the door while saying this and he backed up, never breaking eye contact.
"Fine, I'll go for now. But think about it. Director Fury doesn't take no for an answer, so I will be back."
He kept true to his word, and was waiting for me outside my door the next evening when I returned home. I told him to shove off as I entered my apartment and slammed my door in his face before he could say anything. It's been like this almost every day since then. Some days he would be outside my door before I even left in the morning, following me to work. Sometimes he would follow me home. He even harassed me in the middle of my shift once. This guy had some nerve.
I had yet to see him today, which meant he would most likely be waiting outside my door when I got home. I was right. The second the elevator doors opened to the 13th floor, there he was. I REALLY regretted letting him in my apartment that day. I hurried to press the door close button, to get anywhere but where he was. Lucky me, he closed the gap before the doors shut entirely and put his foot in to stop them.
"Shea, you really need to stop avoiding me. You're only making it more difficult for the both of us." I skirted around him and made a beeline for my door. "Come on Shea, why wouldn't you want to make use of your talents? You could be helping people!" He shouted that last sentence through the door that now separated us. I heard him sigh in exasperation as I leaned on the other side of the door. This guy really did not give up. Though by the exhaustion I could see in his eyes I could tell it was out of the command of his boss, probably the Fury guy he was talking about.
I made sure the door was locked as I shed my jacket and dropped my keys on the table. I stopped to glance at the file he had given me, before turning toward my kitchen. I read the rest of it after I kicked him out that night. It unnerved me how much they knew about me, about my entire life. They knew everything from the first day I displayed my power in the third grade, all the way through the incident in high school. I huffed as I explored the meager contents of my fridge. 'Guess it's ramen noodles again tonight.' I knew Coulson was still outside my door as I boiled the noodles and wondered if he would ever give up. 'Not likely.' I told myself.
I settled down on my threadbare couch and turned on the TV. Just as I began digging into my noodles Coulson's voice traveled through my door.
"I know you can hear me, so just hear me out. Why not use your abilities to help people? You have a rare talent not many can claim to have. What's more, you're REALLY good at it. Exceptionally good. The best. That's why Director Fury wants you, and won't give up until he gets what he wants. You live a meager life working a minimum wage job and can barely afford to feed yourself. What have you got to lose? What are you afraid of?" The look of surprise on his face when I tore open the door was almost worth a smile. Almost.
"How are you going to stroke my ego and insult me in the same breath? I'm not afraid of any ONE or any THING! What will it take to make you leave me alone?" I realize sometimes it's hard to be intimidating when you're only five feet tall, but I should have been able to scare him off weeks ago. Yet here he stands, smirking down at me.
"Come with me." I stared at him for a moment, weighing my options. Stay here living the meager life he so kindly had to remind me of with him harassing me for the rest of my days, or go with him to wherever.
'It might not be so bad, maybe I'm due for a little adventure in my life. This certainly wasn't getting me anywhere.' I looked back to my shabby almost bare apartment. Picking up my keys and my jacket, I locked the door behind me. His smile couldn't have been bigger, and I just rolled my eyes.
"Lead the way, Agent."