Can you tell me what I'm feeling?

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Chocolate cake with orange icing or vanilla cake with green frosting? Here Zain was, a black-haired green-eyed five year old. He stood over the cakes wondering which choice was the right one. He imagined the taste of each cake, what the texture would feel like on his tongue, if the icing would be too sweet, if he will be satisfied with his choice later through the day. Behind him came a groans of other children. As he looked at the cakes again, a sigh fell from his lips and he walked away from the table of sweets, empty handed. He takes a last look at the children choosing their deserts and thinks, leaving was not a choice but that is what I chose.
Since this day, Zain did not believe in free choice. Everything must be set in stone, meant to be.
As Zain became older, he became cut off from emotions. He would busy himself with work because that is what people told him to do and what people tell him to do, is right.
The problem with Zain’s life is that no one ever told him he could make his own choices. No one ever asked him what he preferred. Until a girl named Katlyn took an interest in him. She asked him what his favorite color was. This was an easy answer for Zain. He did not see color. He never understood the meaning of color, to him everything was shades: dark, light, in-between. And that is what he told her.
Instead of letting him slide by with this answer she said, “Okay. But what’s your favorite shade?”
He looked at her and blinked twice. He proceeded to glance around the room. Zain could hear his heart beating in his chest, he could feel the blood running through his veins, he felt the molecules in his brain searching for the right answer, and he felt the electricity as this girl touched his hand and whispered, “It will be okay.” He did not notice the tears streaming down his face.
Katlyn never stopped asking him questions.
What was your favorite animal? Favorite world? If you could change anything about yourself, what would it be? What’s your family like? Do you have a special talent? Have you ever kissed a girl? What’s the lowest grade you reserved on a test?
Katlyn and Zain never really had a full conversation but she always made it a point to sit with him at the lunch table. She said things like, “I know what it’s like to feel alone.” or “I get it. Why you don’t talk as much as people. You are afraid of being wrong.” Even though Zain never showed it he cared, he listened, he understood, and, for once, he felt. When he admitted that to himself a spark lit a match within him and he felt alive. That night, Zain stayed up all night writing a letter for Katlyn. He wanted to thank her.
Instead of riding the bus to school that morning, he ran. Zain wanted to feel everything. He felt the air in his lungs, the ache in his legs, a thirst for water, and a desire to write it all down before it dissipated. However, first he had to give something to the person who woke him up.
Huffing and puffing he walked into the school, a sweaty, sticky, red faced, mess. The student’s heads turned and look at him as if he were an alien. He looked at these people and wanted to scream at them. Who’s the robot now? You have all your technology? Well, I’ve got something more, something better. I have feelings. I can see color. I have answers. My own answers.
Before anyone could speak, the first period bell rang. Every one gave one last look to the robot who turned human: Zain. Before collecting himself, he chuckled and moved along to his first class, with the now crinkled letter in hand.
He sat down in the desk directly in the middle of the class room. When he walked in Katlyn was not to his left were she usually sits. The teacher continued to take attendance. She stopped at Katlyn’s name and gave Zain a sorrowful glance. Zain’s heart raced and for the first time he felt anxious.
Half way through the class, the door opened and the counselor shared a glance with the teacher before asking, “Zain… Could you come with me?”
He stood from his chair and walked with her, Ms. Ivory, to her office. She sat him down in the brown, leather chair in front of her desk. “You look good today, Zain.”
He smiled at her because he felt good. And he could not wait to tell Katlyn that she made him feel.
“I need to talk to you about Katlyn.” Ms. Ivory couldn’t look Zain in the eyes. He knew something was wrong. He knew. “I know Katlyn and you have been friends for quite a while now.” Her voice started to crack as she raised her head. “It seems she has helped you through some of your own problems. I’m sorry to say… Katlyn was in an accident at Ridges Bridge.”
Zain sudden felt not one thing, but everything. No words in his vocabulary could explain how he felt. He asked himself, was this supposed to happen? What do I say? Can I bring her back? Is she okay? He noticed that the paper in his hand now had a million wrinkles.
Zain looked at Ms. Ivory with his green eyes and walked out the door. He ran out of the school and to Ridges Bridge. He knew in his heart that this was no accident.
“Thank you,” he started to rip up the note, “I forgive you…because this was your destiny,” he looked down at the water under the bridge and threw the pages in the wind. “Thank you for proving that everything is set in stone.”

About the Author: 
I, Mercedes Miller, am a sophomore in a very small town in Hartley, Texas. While I have wrote several short stories, this is the first one I have submitted.