X-ray vision, that was what I always wanted.
In the playground at break time, between laughing at the girls’skittering across the square of crumbling tarmac, them squealing like piglets as we shot our muddy football at their white knee socks, we’d argue over what super power was best.
Con wanted to fly like Superman, over the smoking chimneys of our home town, away to the sea and to his Dad sweating and cussing on the oilrigs. Dan wanted Thor’s hammer and though he never said so, we knew it was to smash Stu Philips to bloody crumbs, spread what there were of his brains across the playing fields, watch the crows duck and bob over the remains.
I always said X-ray vision and that would make Con snort through his nose and giggle about the girls’ changing room and Dan would turn pink as strawberry Angel Delight.
But I never wanted it for that. I wanted it to see through next door’s wall, to see why Mrs Philips so often looked like she’d been crying. To see if she really was so clumsy she walked into cupboard doors. I wanted it to solve a mystery.
Then one night the ambulance came, blue lights flashing through my bedroom window like an icy lighthouse warning.
And I didn’t need X-ray vision anymore.