He liked that no one knew. That he could see through things. That he not only had night vision, like the owls he heard lying in bed at night, but x-ray as well. That he could see through to the bones of a dinosaur, like the ones in the Museum of Natural History. Seeing those, he'd pretended that they were actually alive and only he could see how those razor-sharp teeth were set in their massive jaws.
And he liked to taunt his brother with his special x-ray gift.
"Sure," his all knowing-older brother would say, rolling his eyes.
"I can. I can even see your clavicle."
This made Big Bro look up from his little Nintendo DS screen. "My what?"
He wasn't sure actually where he'd picked up that word. Certain words just stayed with him, like pebbles he'd collect along the road – only some made it out of his pocket to his desk, the rest lost in the washing machine.
"Clavicle," he said, pointing his neck. He really wasn't sure exactly where it was but it was up there somewhere...
"Oh." Big Bro turned his attention back to his little animated screen. "Sounds like...some kind of spaceship or something."
He could see through his mother too. But he didn't tell her that. Maybe because when he was able to see through her was when she was looking worried, as she would when she'd feel his forehead for a fever.
But in these worried-looking moments, she'd only be doing something like picking the dead petals off her geraniums. He both wanted her to see him seeing through her, and he didn't. Because what he saw was what he saw when he actually could see through something. Something fragile like a new green leaf he'd grab off a tree and hold up to the sun. When he could see through to those delicate tiny veins. When with the next breeze, the leaf would be whisked away.
So with his mother, he wished sometimes he didn't have that gift for x-ray vision.
Just the night one. When, if he were an owl, he would be able to swoop down on a mouse with the speed of a bullet (he knew what they ate from the owl pellets they got to dissect in school).