by Kristen Koopman
I only have the one psy-identifier that California law requires, the unisex cuff I picked out when my abilities were found in the fifth-grade screenings. I wore it when I met you, our eyes meeting over the glistening arcs of glass rims from across the bar. We got to talking, got to flirting, and all your looks were innocuous--at me, the reflections off bottles, the sticky spilled-drink fingerprints on your glass--until you saw it for the first time (I would've noticed if it weren't) and brought it up.
"What's that for, then? Empath? Telepath? Pyrokinetic?" Each said with an accepting waggle of the eyebrows, as though light scandal was the worst that could come of an identifier.
There's no single word that describes what I can do, and many lengthy explanations--stumbling attempts at "skin-to-skin" and "only to other people, not myself"--taught me to make a concise one: "I make people different."