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The first time that Claire saw me save a life after I rescued Richie, was in February of 1959. A girl two grades lower than ours was about to cross the street when a car skid on ice. I grabbed the girl by the elbow and pulled her back, out of harm's way. Claire's jaw had dropped in shock and surprise. Awe, too, I think. But I'd shrugged it off, claiming to have seen the car hydroplaning toward her.
The second time Claire saw me save a life was in March of '59. This time, it was a young guy at school, Christopher, who was notoriously bullied. I noticed one morning that his numbers were extraordinarily low, giving him less than a week. Suicide, I'd thought. I had made an effort to become Chris' friend. Claire never knew I was rescuing him from dire danger, but I told her my worry when she asked why I'd sudden taken to hanging out with the least popular kid in the entire school. After I'd made my suspicions known to her, she made an effort to become his friend as well, and Claire's popularity had changed Chris' status, and before the week was out, his time had shifted and Chris was going to be fine.
The third time Claire saw me save a life was in May of 1959.
The fourth, June.
July produced five and six.
And by August, when she witnessed the seventh time I'd saved a life in her presence, I knew she was beginning to wonder about me.
"You're always there," she said one night, while we were sitting on the porch at her house drinking ice tea she had made.
"I attract trouble," I said, shrugging.
"No. It's more like you stop it," she said, looking me over, "Like Superman or something."
I laughed, "Superman? No."
She shrugged. "That's what you remind me of."