What She Wasn’t Thinking

by Russ Bickerstaff

Amber sat across the table from Missy who sat across the table from Amber. There might’ve been a candle between them. There might have been some kind of a decent meal. Certainly it was not a restaurant. Missy knew that Amber didn’t like being around large groups of people but she didn’t know why. She figured she would find out in time.

It really felt as though the two of them had nothing but time. Time would tell whether or not they had anything more than time. Both of them were kind of hoping that there was a future. And both of them were kind of hoping that there was a future for both of them. Together perhaps. Would’ve been nice.

It wasn’t like Amber could read minds and it wasn’t like she couldn’t. Really it was more just like listening than anything. Nothing about it ever felt like reading. More like overhearing. The way you heat songs in passing. It was really hard to describe to other people.

And it wasn’t exactly telepathy. Not the way most people think of it. So it was really just something that she preferred to avoid talking about. Until people started to ask her questions about why she was looking at them the way she was. Then she would have to get into it. Which was generally why she didn’t like getting very close to people.

It wasn’t necessarily the experience so much is having to explain it. That’s why it was kind of difficult with Missy. Amber really liked Missy. Missy could tell that there was something wrong with her. And she really genuinely wanted Amber to feel good. She wanted to make Amber feel good. And generally Amber did feel good around her. So naturally she was going to have to explain the whole situation.

And naturally she was going to open by saying that she couldn’t read minds. And she couldn’t read the mind of her lover either. She was hearing thoughts. And those thoughts were not the thoughts that Missy was thinking. That was kind of issue with Amber and it was kind of a major issue explaining to other people. Thankfully for her Missy was very patient about the whole situation.

See, Amber couldn’t read minds and she couldn’t hear the thoughts that people were having. She could only hear the thoughts that people weren’t having. And only some of them. And they tended to be very vicious, evil thoughts. Horrible things. Unspeakable things. And grotesque vulgarities conjured-up from some strangely non-existent he’ll. And as disturbing as it was hearing all those horrible things that people weren’t thinking, it was just nice to know that they were NOT actually thinking those thoughts. It was nice to know for certain that even if they were thinking awful things, they weren’t actually thinking those thoughts that she was hearing…even if they WERE in the sounds of their own voices.

Missy considered this and spoke of trying to put herself in Amber‘s place. She knew things weren’t going to be easy. Because even if it was just some weird mental disorder or whatever that didn’t change the fact that it was very real for Amber. And if it was going to be very real for Amber then it would have to be very real for Missy. And somehow the two of them would get together. Somehow the two of them will get through it together. This was very important to Missy because it was very important to Amber.

Sadly, Amber wasn’t hearing Missy say these things she was saying. Amber had to look really closely just to make sure. Sure enough Missy’s lips weren’t moving when she said these things.

When Missy spoke, she was saying something else altogether. It was a bit difficult to bridge the gap. To understand. And maybe to a certain extent Amber didn’t want to understand. It was just kind of refreshing not to hear obscenities and sinister things coming from the mind of someone she was really beginning to care about. Strange, though that something so reassuring could not be coming from Missy’s mind. Because she knew where it wasn’t coming from. And that was more than a little disconcerting. But not all together unsettling. Not the way it was for so many other people and so many other ways.

Amber tried really hard to pay attention to what Missy was saying. It was important. Perhaps more important that you had ever been with anyone else. And certainly more important that I had ever been before. Because for the first time she was actually hearing things from someone’s mind that wasn’t there but probably would have been nice to be there. The way she wanted to be there. But there was something off about it. Something off about the way Amber was looking at Missy. Or at least something off about the way Missy was looking at Amber. And neither of them quite knew. All that either of them could do at that moment was simply sigh. In time Amber would get better at listening to Missy. And Missy would get better at listening to Amber. Although it was honestly quite strange for Missy to think that unspeakable thoughts were being spoken in her voice to someone she was beginning to care about. Someone she was beginning to love. She would try her best.

This was all she was saying to Amber as Amber felt so very strange and strangely comforted by thoughts that Missy wasn’t actually having. Just in case things were going to be fine Amber decided not to tell her what thoughts she wasn’t having. And Missy didn’t really want to know what she wasn’t thinking either. Amber let Missy think that she was hearing evil, vicious things being spoken in her voice…because she didn’t want to upset her. She knew it would probably upset her to know that she was the one person Amber EVER heard kind and caring thoughts from. She figured it would bother Missy. At least, that’s what Amber was hoping.

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