There’s a girl in my Lit class and I’m pretty sure she can read my mind. It took a few weeks for me to notice—she’s a quiet-type, doesn’t participate much, doesn’t talk to her neighbors. Her name is Glade, Glade… something. Generally she spends most of her time with her nose in a book or scrawling into that notebook she always brings to class. I’ve never seen her with the actual textbook, or with the required reading. In retrospect, I don’t know that she’d ever need them.
It’s the fifth week of classes and for the third time today I’ve caught her giving me this disgusted look. It’s also the third time I’ve slipped back into thinking about the book I was too embarrassed to tell my friends I was reading.
This has been going on all semester. Some days she doesn’t pay me any mind at all, some days my mere existence seems to throw her into some sort of a fit. I’ve tried the cough-twice-if-you-can-read-my-mind thing, but with no luck. Maybe I’m delusional. Maybe she just doesn’t want to share.
There’s only so many times a coincidence can happen before it gets suspicious. I glance at my phone, positioned between my lap and my desk, but I can feel her eyes still on me.
My eyes flick up at Dr. Lupa, our young and bubbly teacher, not ashamed enough at having been caught. But she’s not looking at me; she’s still animatedly gushing about how Atticus Finch is the perfect gentleman.
Generally I’d think nothing of it and move on with my life.
But I’ve been reading a lot of fantasy lately and all these coincidences seem to fit together suddenly.
Did you say something? I try, flicking my eyes to her. She’s not looking at me anymore, and her face doesn’t change. Hello?
There’s no answer, and I think I might as well pull out all the stops—if I’m wrong, no one will ever know. I mentally paint a picture of a dusty, sunlit library. The kind that nerdy students and professors who are in love with Atticus Finch drool over. There are plush leather chairs, volumes in bound leather and cotton, heavy mahogany desks. On the floor, atop a thick sheepskin rug in front of the crackling fireplace, Dr. Lupa and Glade No-Last-Name embrace passionately, clad only in their—
Her eyes flick to me and I swear they’re filled with rage.
—In their lacy black undergarments.
“Read to me one more line,” Dr. Lupa moans, stroking the open pages of To Kill a Mockingbird. “Just one more line.”
“Are you sure we should be doing this?” Glade replies huskily—
Something thumps off the side of my head and a pink eraser tumbles to a stop on my desk. When I look over, Glade is staring blindly at the front of the classroom, where Dr. Lupa is walking back and forth, excitedly reading a passage from the novel we’re supposed to be reading. Her face is bright pink.
—“They’ll never know,” Dr. Lupa replies. “I’ll be your Boo Radley.”
Glade moans loudly as—
“Yes, Glade?” Dr. Lupa says, looking surprised. I look over, her hand is standing rigid in the air.
“Could you repeat what you said about the recurring theme of killing innocence?” she asks in an odd tone of voice. “I didn’t quite understand.”
“Of course.” Dr. Lupa looks beyond happy at someone taking an interest in what is clearly something important to her, but I can’t rest now, not when I’m so close.
You can hear me, I say in my head. I know you can.
Will you just shut the hell up?
I’m not saying anything. Get out of my head if it’s so distracting for you.
Obviously I would if I could.
When I look at her again, she’s radiating anger, even without looking at me. I wonder if anyone else can see it.
How is it that you’re talking back to me?
I don’t think that’s any of your damn business.
Oh I think it is, considering you’ve been listening in to my private thoughts all semester.
Fine. She tears out a page of her notebook and starts writing furiously.
What are you doing?
I’m giving you an explanation.
Why don’t we just go to the cafe after class?
How about no?
Please? I promise to leave you alone forever afterwards.
She stops writing. Fine. You’re buying.
She’s sitting across from me at the café, too iced coffees of varying sweetness and one well-used notebook between us. Suddenly I have no idea what to say.
“Cat got your tongue?” she asks.
“I haven’t heard that phrase since the twentieth century.”
She doesn’t respond. I don’t make an attempt at humor again.
You can read minds, I say.
“Some,” she says.
“Just certain ones.”
“What makes me special?”
“Clearly not your choice in erotic fiction. Outlander? Really?”
I laugh loudly, and her eyes narrow, but not in an angry way. “I think you actually think I’m funny.”
“Unfortunately,” she replies, which catches me completely off-guard. When she sees my reaction, she shrugs. “Growing up reading minds, you learn not to give a fuck about whether people think you’re straightforward. I think you’re funny. And if you wanna know the truth, I can only read the minds of the people the Universe or whatever thinks I need to read.”
“I guess what I’m saying is that the Flying Spaghetti Monster thinks we should be friends.”
I feel like I should be surprised, but I’m not, really. “Well why doesn’t he tell me that himself?”
“Bold of you to assume the Flying Spaghetti Monster is a he.”
“Whatever,” I laugh, “but where’s my assurance?”
“You want assurance?”
I shrug. “How do I know you’re not just reading my mind and saying that?”
You can hear me too, can’t you?
“How do I know everyone can’t?”
She looks at a guy standing up from the next table over. I’m telling him to come kiss you on the mouth.
Please do NOT.
Here he comes—
Stop! I’m not ready this! It’s my first time!
The guy walks past without glancing at us.
That super wasn’t funny.
The look on your face was. She’s grinning. I’ve never seen her grin before. The look alone makes me concede.
Fine. We can be friends. And I’ll stop fantasizing about you and Dr. Lupa.
She shrugs. At least make the content better. I can do without the Ode-to-Pornhub vibes you had going on.