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The hands that supported my wonderful novel were covered by wrist-length lace gloves from my Halloween year as Audrey Hepburn with the finger tips cut off to make it look punk. My jewelry consisted of heart shaped pearl earrings from my mom’s best friend and a cameo necklace borrowed (without permission) from my sister. Clothes: black and purple Ed Hardy’s with white tops, dark, skinny jeans, and a sleeveless camisole with netting in the shoulders. My face was clear of vanity and makeup. My slightly, shiny nose supported my wire-framed Harry Potter bifocals, its transparent lenses revealing my ironic light, blue eyes. Most blondes have blue eyes, but I’m not a blonde. I had brunette hair that was ties back with a simple black and white bow, revealing my entire face. As I paused to turn to a new part, an obnoxious shadow fell across the pages followed by an obnoxious voice saying,
“Does your mother know you wear so much black?”
I looked up to find an obnoxious smile attached to a boy named Jerry with blond hair and vain, brown eyes. Standing next to him was a red-haired girl, probably his girlfriend from the anxious look on her face and the body language between them. I recognized both from my homeroom class. I was about to ignore him and return to my book, when it came. The voice in my head that didn’t belong to me.
You’re probably wondering if I’m some kind of schizophrenic or loony tunes, but I assure you that I’m not crazy. Well, maybe a little, but this was not some hallucination, this was real. It had started when my adolescent mind first started to comprehending human language. I was a quiet, little girl, most people assuming that I was shy and didn’t like to talk, but what they didn’t know was that I was really listening. I heard these voices in my head, not figments of childish imagination, but the real voices of other people around me. I could tell what a person was thinking before she or he said it out loud. I often finished the end of many of my sister’s sentences, allowing people to think we had some kind of super sibling mental connection, which we did, but that wasn’t it. I simple heard her. Around the middle of elementary school I realized that the people around me didn’t go around hearing voices like I did. So I kept silent, telling only my family about this strange ability, and all the while hearing things I shouldn’t have heard.
“I can’t believe I just did that. What would Macy do if she found out?”
“I can’t believe it. She said yes. I just asked out the girl of my dreams and she said yes!”
“I need to get some coffee or an adrenaline shot, something ‘till I get to stop teaching and go home.”
I heard good thoughts, bad thoughts, confused thoughts, soft thoughts, loud thoughts, mean thoughts, and so on. And I said nothing. These were not my thought to tell, they didn’t belong to me, so I kept them all like some sort of sacred keeper, never letting them go, unless it was absolutely necessary.
Like that one time when I heard this guy thinking to himself whether or not he should kill this woman now or later. It was horrendous how casually he was pondering this decision, like he was choosing what kind of toppings he wanted on his pizza. I tipped off a nearby policeman and he found the guy’s weapon, a simple knife, and he was arrested before anyone got hurt. Another time I saw a woman with dark bruises, a friend of my mom’s from Metropolitan Homecare, read her scared thoughts, and called the Domestic Violence Hotline. I didn’t ask for this gift, this curse, whatever it was or still is. I didn’t ask to know these truths, the ones that people locked inside their minds and discovering the lies they said to the world outside. But it was part of me, it was part of who I am, and I accepted its effects on me. Aside from this secret, I was completely honest inside and out. I didn’t live in Falsehood, I didn’t wear padded bras, I didn’t lie about my weight to the school nurse, I didn’t hide my grades from my parents, and I never wore cosmetics. I preferred to live a life of simplicity and truth to balance out the opposite in my mind. All my life I never told a lie and on that day I didn’t stop.
Coming back to this state of time, as you might have guessed by now what had come was another mind-reading. (Can a mind be read like a book?)
If you are someone who knows me, then you would know that I am always reading. Call me a bookworm, a nerd, or just a reader, but I loved books. I loved them for many reasons; I loved the way they weigh in my hands, I love the sound of opening to a new page, I loved the scent books give off when you put your nose to their spines. Books were my treasures, my teachers, my friends, and my escape. When I was reading I didn’t just find a way to get out of my normal surroundings, I found a way to get out of my mind. I suppose that my mind id so busy interpreting metaphors, following plot lines, and interacting with characters to focus on the thoughts of others.
Reading and sleeping were the only times I didn’t feel so strange, like I was actually normal for a change. From reading the minds of others, I know that many people out there want to feel that way as well. So I read; I read science fiction, fantasy, graphic novels, history, mystery, realistic fiction, etc. I conversed with Harry Potter, Diana Prince, Dorothy Gale, Alice, Juliet Capulet, and so many others I came to read about and love.
Where was I? Oh, right. The reading was coming from vain eyes and this was what I heard:
“I should probably leave this loser alone,’ my thought:
“Hey”, ‘and get going. I wonder if Julie’s free for another “French” lesson.”
Julie wasn’t the name of the girl standing next to Josh, and he didn’t take French. So I did what I would have done if I was in this type of situation, which I was. I said bluntly,
“Does your girlfriend know you speak ‘French’?” I made invisible air quotes around the term. The girl I knew turned to her boyfriend and had this poor look of confusion while Jerry looked flabbergasted and slightly nervous. He shook off the look, like a wet dog after a bath and asked me cautiously,
“What do you mean?”
Now we’re getting to the good part and a Cheshire cat smile grew on my face before I answered. “You know, since you speak so fluently with Julie?”
Now Ginger, the red-headed girlfriend, was looking annoyed, not at me, but at her “boyfriend” and glared hostilely while Jerry developed a slight sweat, unusual in the current mild weather, but then again but about this situation was “usual”?
Then things got chilly, when blonde’s cell phone rang, and Ginger took a look at the caller I.D. before sucking in her breath. She snatched the phone out of pretty boy’s hand before he could hide it and flipped it open with pure malice before asking,
“WHO IS THIS?”
She listened patiently for a few seconds before making a face that could have turned Medusa to stone. She answered stonily to the voice on the phone,
“No, I’m his GIRLFRIEND.”
She snapped the phone down so hard I thought the screen would crack. She turned to her boyfriend with crossed arms and the fury of a woman scorned. She opened her mouth and said exactly what was on her mind (I should know.)
“YOU LITTLE CREEP! (Well, she used a word stronger than that) I CAN’T BELIEVE I EVER WENT OUT WITH YOU. WHEN WERE YOU GOING TO TELL ME ABOUT YOUR “FRENCH” PARTNER! HERE’S SOME WORDS LEFT. GOODBYE!”
She looked for something to compensate for her physical rage toward Not-quite-so-hot-now and I thought of a way to kindly help her. I found that “Necessity is the mother of invention” worked perfectly for this delicate situation and handed Ginger my previous drinking glass full of nice, cold soda to her. She smiled appreciatively at me before thrusting back her arm and throwing soda straight at her EX-boyfriend’s face. He sputtered and cried as the carbonated liquid burned his eyes.
I looked at Ginger and held two joined fingers at my forehead and saluted her audacity. She smiled a genuine smile that was only shared between women truly smiling at each other, and countered my salute. Before turning her back she said, “Thanks, Michele,” before walking down the narrow cement sidewalk and going out of sight. Meanwhile the snuck had cleared the soda out of his bull red eyes, no longer so vain. He pointed his finger, (Not That Finger), at me and started to say something when I cut him off. I leaned back in my chair, crossed my legs, and looked directly into his eyes before saying what was going on in my mind.
“Now I know what you’re thinking, but before you call me an itch with a B, I have something to say. Helpful suggestion: You might want to be more honest in your relationships next time or you’ll end up with more than a drink thrown in your face. Now go away before the Garson comes and makes sure that you stop disturbing the peace. Now goodbye and have a nice day.”
With that I waved him off with one hand and flashed a dental moue that would have gotten me cast into the next major toothpaste commercial. Pretty boy didn’t look so pretty currently with his face reflecting the obscenity I heard in his mind. But with one look from the waiter Jerky Jerry took one last sigh and walked away. All I heard before bending back down to my book was the sound of soda dripping and the populace of the café applauding.
*The previous days before the 2011 Halloween candy-demanding parade (I did not go as Audrey Hepburn this year, I went as her the year before.)
* I was about to step out of my mom’s car I saw it. “It” was the license plate of the car in front of us with the word, “Haloween”; you know misspelled because of the legal letter limit for New York license plates for privately owned vehicles. Yet, it was still pretty cool.