here comes the rain again, falling from the stars

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I closed my eyes, taking a deep breath. I felt an overwhelming wave of fear fall over me as I tried not to listen. Heat radiated in my palms and chest, as if I'd set myself on fire. Usually my fellow oddities were considerate of my situation, but sometimes they forgot. It's not hard to forget about me really. I'm the black sheep of the minority. It's like being identified as a misfit, and yet you're still slightly off, like there is something wrong with you for being the only kind of person you are. This was odd considering misfits would usually be accepting of other misfits, but I guess that only goes to a certain extent.

My fingernails dug into my palms, my teeth gritted against each other. I can handle a few voices at a time, but a whole room of them made me want to jump out of the window. I felt panicky, like I couldn't breathe. Bright red-orange, flashing like an alarm. The fiery feeling spread up my wrists and forearms. I was sensitive to loud or collective noises. Well, I was sensitive to all noises, but crowds were the worst. I scrunched up my face in pain as I tried to ignore it. Just quiet your mind Frank, I thought, just go blank.

But of course I couldn't. I could tell if they didn't stop talking I would have a panic attack again. Then everyone would be remorseful for not remembering the freak they had to deal with. They'd watch me with disheartened eyes as Mercedes made me breathe in and out of a paper bag. My chest was growing tight. I felt I couldn't last another minute, another second. I felt I was about to explode when a voice called over the others.

"Hey," Patrick said, making the room fall quiet. "Let's remember about our fellow group members. Not everyone handles sensory places well, including noisy places. Please, just be courteous. The meeting will begin as soon as everyone finds their seat."

The voices became hushed, and relief washed over my body as I embraced the small noises only. Footsteps felt calm, scuffing of chairs felt serene. A quiet greenish-blue, cool rushing over the parts of me that felt burnt before. I flashed a look of thanks at Patrick, and he smiled back resolutely. I don't know how he knew, I didn't really talk much about my situation during the meetings, and he couldn't have seen me. Not with all the people in the way.

"Okay," Patrick said when everyone was sitting. We were on the stage of our high school, arranged in a large circle of plastic chairs. People who were almost like me filled up the seats.

"Hello, everyone," Patrick continued. His voice was yellow. I felt his voice like smooth wood against my fingertips. "Welcome. We're glad to be seeing you all today. Many of you know about my form of synesthesia. I have one of the more common forms, mine being chromosthesia. For those of you who may not know, that is the association of colors or patterns to certain noises. For instance, when I hear a car honk, I see blue and green stripes. I think a few of you also have this form. We're going to go around the circle and take turns explaining our personal syesthesia, and then we will get into the meat of the meeting."

We did as told, people of all ages rising up and explaining their sensory disorders. Most were just grapheme-color kids, the ones who saw colors when reading letters and numbers. They made up most of the group. There were quite a few chromosthesiacs as Patrick had thought.

About halfway through the circle, on the other side of the circle, a boy stood up. I felt odd looking at him. He carried himself in a silently strong way. I'm not sure if he was really strong, but if he wasn't, he must have been a good actor. He looked as though he could handle anything you threw at him. He had short, choppy pitch black hair, His skin was pale and seemingly void of blemish.

"I'm Gerard," he said. As soon as I heard his voice, I saw the dark, velvety purple. Interesting, odd, and enamoring purple. It felt like being plunged in warm water. "I'm twenty, and I have Mirror-Touch synesthesia. That means if I see someone being touched from across the room, I can feel it happening to me."

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