Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Lottery

I don't even know where to start. I've tried writing this post about ten times in the past five days, and I just couldn't. So here goes try number eleven, I guess.

Jan is gone. Not dead. Gone. Gone from my life. I'm sad and lonely and angry, but I don't have anyone to be angry at. Except myself, maybe. And maybe if I weren't so selfish, I'd be happy--for Jan, and for the world.

It was Sunday morning when she woke up. She just opened her eyes, sat up, and said, "I'm hungry." I laughed, gave her a hug, and got the nurse to bring Jan some food. A few minutes later, she was scarfing down a plate of scrambled eggs, hash browns, toast, and apple juice.

"Did you know that was going to knock you out for four days?" I asked.

"It happened the last two times I tried something this big." She took a big bite, then continued while chewing: "What, did you think I was just ignoring you for three days after I healed you at the Wilk?"

I shrugged. "Yeah."

Jan laughed. "No, it just wears me out. I guess that's the price, you know? Everything comes with a price."

"Another reason not to go around using your power all the time, then."

She nodded. "Yeah. Except..."


She turned to me, her face glowing. "X, I've never felt this good in my entire life. I mean, I feel like I haven't eaten in days because I guess I haven't, but spiritually, I feel like I just won the lottery. I saved Lucy's life. It's what God wanted me to do, I know it. You were right. God wants me to use my power to help people."

I couldn't help smiling. Her mood was contagious. "Everyone's going to want to be your friend. The best life insurance around."

Jan set her fork down and her smile faded. "You don't understand, X. My power isn't just for me, or even just for my friends and family. God gave me this power to bless the world. I can't go on living my life while people are dying. Life is a precious gift. Our Heavenly Father wants me to preserve it--every life I can."

"What are you saying?" My smile was gone now too. "You're just going to go around..."

"Finding people to heal? Yeah. How many people in this hospital are dying? How many can I save?"

"What about school? What about your life?" I didn't ask what about us because I didn't want to hear the answer.

"This is going to be my life, X. I'm dedicating my life to God, to serving his children."

Suddenly the chair I'd been sitting in all week felt oppressively confining. I jumped to my feet. "And you just decided this now, in the ten minutes since you woke up? You're not thinking clearly, Jan."

"No." She offered a loving smile in return for my anger. "I made the decision while I was unconscious. My body was here, but-- I don't want to say I had a vision, but it was definitely a spiritual experience. I know more than anything I've ever known in my life, this is what I'm supposed to do. This is my calling."

With that, she stood up, gave me a warm but annoyingly sisterly kiss on the cheek, and walked out of the room. I was left there reeling, unable to make sense of what had just happened. By the time I gathered my senses enough to go after her, she had found a coma patient down the hall. The patient was awake and healthy, and Jan was on the floor, unconscious. Again.

When Jan woke up again yesterday, news reporters were waiting. You've probably seen the reports. When she explained her new life purpose to them, someone got a helicopter to take her up to Primary Children's Hospital in Salt Lake, where she healed a kid with Leukemia. I guess there's a waiting list now, of people for her to cure each time she wakes up from the last one. I see people on Facebook and in the news talking about how her power is of the devil and it's unnatural and it's a perversion of the priesthood, but as far as I can tell none of the people she's cured or their families are complaining. People on the waiting list are happy to pay for Jan's stay at the hospital, for her food and whatever else she needs, just for the chance that she'll heal their loved one.

My attempts at anonymity are increasingly meaningless as Jan's real name is spread across the internet, but I'm going to keep calling her "Jan" here because... well, I guess because I can't let go of her. Her real name belongs to the world now, just as she does, but "Jan" will always be mine.

It's barely been a day since this all went public and already I saw an article saying that public opinion of mutants in Utah is on the upswing, all because of Jan. So not only is Jan dedicating her life to helping people who need it, but she's also indirectly helping all of mutantkind. She's a hero. I should be proud of her. And I am, really. But I also can't help feeling that I've been left behind. Maybe Jan won the lottery, but I definitely lost.

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