The memory I want to share first is actually the very first one of my superhuman life : the genesis of my powers.
Before I discovered I was a mutant, my life was already rather hectic - you cannot possibly have a spy as a father and live an ordinary life, can you? But still, despite all the drama that happened before I even came of age, it was certainly way smoother before July 18th, 19XX.
That night was supposed to be the last one I would spend at my mother's for a while, as I was due to take a plane to Tokyo the next evening. At 0.21 however, I woke up, sweating, and actually quite distressed after a disturbingly vivid nightmare...
I had just dreamt that I queueing up for check-in at the airport, listening to music on my brand new discman, when, right in the middle of the Smashing Pumpkins' The End is the Beginning is the End, I felt a sudden bump in my bum that sent me down on my knees. Upon standing back up, I just found myself facing a rather charming red-haired (and red-faced) girl who asked me to forgive her - which I kindly did of course. So far, so good.
Then there was a kind of flash forward to the two of us sitting together inside the plane, talking abundantly to one another as the stewardess was passing by us with refreshments. It was at that very moment that the lights switched off and beeping sounds started deafening us. The stewardess fell and hurt her head on her trolley, while people started panicking. And the next thing we knew, the plane was going down, faster and faster, and I started feeling the same impression you get in a rollercoaster, only worse: my heart was pounding alarmingly fast, and my lungs felt constricted by pretty much all my other organs, the whole effect growing only worse second after second...
Until we crashed. That was the moment when I woke up. I did not scream - utter terror seemed to have had a paralysing effect on my throat. This wasn't my first nightmare, of course. I naturally tried to get it out of my system and go back to sleep, but I simply could not. I was familiar with crashing, having escaped rather miraculously from a car accident when I was 9. The problem was that this dream was way too vivid for my liking and peace of mind, so much that dear old Morpheus simply would not pop back in. By 5 a.m., I surrendered and got up, and went through the various papers I needed for my trip.
That whole day, which I expected to be a mixture of sadness - for leaving my mother all alone for the first time since my father's death - and excitement turned out to be a gut-wrenching affair - quite literally. The goodbyes at the train station were rather teary on my mother's side, but the train definitely soothed my mind slightly, as I abandoned myself to loud and straightforward music on my discman.
That took me through the station, another train, then halls, stairs, and eventually the airport. As I felt a biting twinge in my guts again, I chose another CD as I located the queue for check-in. I went for an old compilation I had not listened to for ages...
I had - and still have - this habit of setting my stereos, discmans or nowadays iPods on random play. As the first bar of the song came flooding my ears, a chill climbed up my whole spine: I was listening to The End is the Beginning is the End! As I was fumbling with the discman to skip that track, I found myself reliving a familiar scene: bumped in the bum, down on my knees, up again, and the blushing red-haired cutie.
My whole world started to spin around, and the airport and girl faded into a whirlwind of sounds, colours, and aches... I woke up with a splitting headache, my head on the girl's lap, in the middle of the airport. A medical team was busy checking on my pulse, heartbeats, eyes, limbs, etc. They were talking to me, giving me orders, or advice, or maybe a recipe who knows? I was not listening to them. I was deeply racking my brains to try and make some sense out of the whole situation. My heart was still racing, my insides were still churning, and the red-haired girl was softly stroking my hair, evidently shaken but trying to make up for what seemed to her to be her blunder. I actually had the impression she was repeating worriedly "Oh God! Oh God! It's all my fault! Oh God!"
I made to get back on my feet, but the paramedics would not let me. I insisted, and seemed to recover all of a sudden my movements and my spirits. I turned around, looked at the crowd that was gathering around me, and almost shouted at them "Don't board that plane! It's gonna crash down!"
Only the soft touch of the girl's hand on my forearm stopped me, and all of a sudden, I realized the utter madness of the whole situation: I was now beyond certain that the flight would be doomed, that these people who were staring at me would soon be boarding for Death, not Tokyo. But I found myself unable to act, equally scared of being locked away in an asylum. One last sweeping stare at them all, and I almost turned to the girl and begged her to come with me. Instead, I found myself looking straight into her eyes and said "No, it's not your fault. And I find you gorgeous, too. And please, come with me and don't take that plane. Please."
When I arrived in my hotel room a couple of hours later, it came as no surprise that the girl did not follow me: the reflection I found staring back from the mirror was plainly unsettling, with its deathly white face, scared-looking eyes and mad hair. Any other time, she would have been easy prey. That day, I went to bed all alone, anxiously switching between news channels. At 2.49 a.m., the plane crashed, and barely a couple of minutes later, live reports were sprouting all over the BBC, CNN et all. Morpheus finally gave me my due, as I woke up half-a-day later.