28 February 1925
Joanna slammed the door shut as she entered her home, a small shack on the Ohio River in southern Indiana. Jeremiah was sitting at the small table that occupied nearly half of the main room, and looked up from his newspaper when he heard the door.
"What did you do?!" she yelled, storming up to him and then standing, arms crossed tight across her stomach.
"Now, mama, you have to know-" he started.
"Just answer me, boy!" He sighed and set the newspaper down, then turned to face her.
"I saved our house is what I did, and got nearly a year's wages out of it."
"You nearly killed Mr. Robbins! I've only just managed to establish a life for us here, and if he turns against us-"
"What kind of life is it?" Jeremiah screamed, standing so rapidly his chair slid back and fell over. "All of my life has been spent in tiny shacks, with barely enough food, watching you work a string of meager jobs for people that hate us! Why won't you let me find a better path for us?"
"Because there's a darkness in you, Jeremiah, and your attempts to 'fix' this invariably include hurting people who look at you funny for your skin or your mom's habits."
"They mean nothing! They're little, pathetic things, running around acting like everything of value is built on these little kingdoms they manage, ignorant of the world that exists all around them!"
"These are human beings you're talking about, now."
"And what good is that? I have the power to take this entire river off its course, and I need to play along to their rules? Fit in to their society? Who put them in charge of this?" he finally screamed, holding out his hands and floating as all the water in the sink and his glass rose up with him.
"They matter because they're people! All that power don't make you more important than them!"
"And all them books you lug around and read don't make you any different! You're punishing yourself! You'd rather keep people like Robbins happy while you waste your life away waiting for a man who'll never return, than let yourself have even a taste of what his power can give you! I think you prefer having him gone!" Joanna slapped Jeremiah hard across the face, and as he snapped out of his trance and fell the water in the air splashed to the ground.
"You don't talk to me like that, boy. You don't know what I go through every single day." They both stayed where they are, Joanna standing next to the table and Jeremiah sitting on the floor, and stared at each other catching their breath.
"You're never going to leave this river, are you?" he finally asked, softly.
"I made my choice. I took my vows. I keep my word." He sat in silence another few moments, then slowly stood and dusted himself off.
"I'm done, mom. I can't do this anymore."
"Can't do what?"
"Wait for him. Hide what I am. Live this life," he answered, indicating the cramped house with his hands. "It's time I go live my life." Tears started to form on Joanna's eyes.
"No, please, Jeremiah, I'm sorry, I-"
"It's not your fault. Not really. We just don't fit in the same world anymore." She reached for him, but he turned and walked into the side room. By the time he returned with a bag packed, she was sitting on the floor and sobbing. He paused, then flicked his fingers. The liquid from the tears came out of her clothes and off her face and landed in his cup. She looked up at him and opened her mouth to speak, but he just gave a weak smile before turning and walking out.