I've always found the thought of being able to read minds unsettling. I mean, I can't even deal with the thoughts that flit through my own head, let alone have to bear hearing what others are thinking.
And now that Carolyn's post on her gossip blog---about there being a handful of students in Northwood who have mind-reading abilities---has gone viral, my curiosity about the matter has never been higher. Sure, everyone is saying it's probably just a lie she's selling to get more readers. And sure, she has written articles that have some very questionable content that ended with her being suspended. But maybe, just maybe, there's some iota of truth in Carolyn's claims.
With that being said, I have adopted the skill of observation, and with coupled with a bunch of hypotheses, have concluded that there is at least one person in my class who can read minds. Today, I am finally testing out my theory.
Closing my eyes, I try to muster courage to conduct the test appropriately. Now or never! With hands gripping my calculator---as if it could help me concentrate---I clear my mind.
If my hunch is right, the mind reader in the class will... no, they will read my mind. This is my grand idea to prove whether or not what Carolyn proposed is true, to prove whether my hunch is right.
I breathe in, and as loud as my mind can scream out, I think, "I know you're listening to me!"
From the front row, I notice Anne flinch. It's a subtle and quick movement, but I'm sure I'm not just imagining it. Her hand is gripping her pencil a bit too tight and her shoulders tense. She's the one. She can read my thoughts.
"Oh my God, what the fuck have I done?" I think out loud. I don't mean to think it, but the sudden realization that Anne Vasquez can read my thoughts---that she knows what I think about her---makes my heart beat too faster. Too fast for my liking. I'm tempted to clutch my chest in an attempt to slow down the pace at which my heart races.
I've had a crush on Anne for almost a year now and believe you me, I've had my share of... inappropriate fantasies about her. A lot.
"And she knows," the voice at the back of my head adds. My cheeks go hot when I see her bend over, face buried in her palm with the slight hint of a... is she smiling right now? She thinks this is funny?
Sinking into my seat, I rub my hands over my face, regretting everything I've ever thought since the very day I could decipher right and wrong. How many other people have this ability in the school? How many more had it outside the walls of Northwood High?
God, if any of the cashiers at the grocery store can read minds, I'd be dead. Or worse, if Mr. Harper can read thoughts, he'll know how much I think his belly is the real-life equivalent of the huge earthenware pot Kweku Ananse had to carry in one folktale my grandma used to tell me. He'll know how I find his nasal voice always reminding me of the sound that my sister's vibrator makes in the middle of the night when she thinks the entire house is asleep. Oh shit, what if he's listening now? What if that's the reason his beady eyes are narrowing in my direction and he's pointing that stern gaze toward me?
A snort distracts me from my train of thought that has somehow derailed and is now hurtling towards a family of meerkats in the African plains. It's from Anne. She's laughing, loudly. She seems to have as much control of her laughter the same way I have control over my thoughts. Which is hardly?
She gets sent out of class and frowns the entire time her sleeve-covered hands shove books into her light grey backpack. But as she gets to the door, her head turns towards me. And she gives me the ghost of a smile. Look at that, my crush who knows everything I think---who can make a fortune off selling my dirty lining to anyone interested in getting at the only black guy in the swim team---actually smiles. Because of me.
As soon as her dark hair disappears from view, and the only thing I can hear is the gradually fading sound of her footsteps, I slowly lift my hand.
"Can I use the bathroom?"
The hall is empty when I step out. I look around. No trace of life, not even Anne who stepped out a few seconds before I did.
"Who are you looking for?"
I turn and there she stands, staring at me with her dark brown eyes.
"I'm---I'm looking for... you?" She smiles and I don't know I bothered saying it because it's pretty obvious. I lean against a locker, trying to seem casual. "So you can actually hear my thoughts."
"Yup. The way you worry about Brandon Fraser's health is actually really over the top." She tucks her hands in her pockets and turns on the balls of her feet, already moving away again.
"So when I---er... imagined you in the shower..."
"Yeah. By the way, you got the shampoo brand wrong."