Tuesday, October 06th, 2009

“I know what you’re thinking…but you shouldn’t do anything desperate.”

I’m nineteen and just started college. In my first day of class, I had a most intriguing experience.

I was sitting in my psychology class, and the instructor started talking about metaphysics, ESP, mind reading, etc.  It really wasn’t part of the class curriculum, but it was apparent that the subject fascinated him.

He explained how a person could be more receptive to the thoughts of others if we just relaxed and let our instincts take over.  As he was talking, I decided I’d give it a try.  I breathed deeply, relaxed my shoulders…and was shocked when I “heard” the thoughts of the person sitting next to me.  It was the weirdest experience.

He was thinking about how disappointed his parents would be if he did poorly in college, perhaps even flunking out.  At first I was amused by his insecurity, but then I started visualizing objects that scared me.  I saw a pistol, a knife…and then I imagined him standing on a tall bridge looking down onto raging waters.

Well, I didn’t say anything to him that day.  I didn’t know him, and I didn’t want him to think I was nuts.  After all, I was just starting out in college, living away from home for the first time, not knowing anyone…  And here I was, thinking the guy next to me was going to kill himself.  It was surreal.

During the next few lectures, I didn’t pick up on his thoughts again, and I started to convince myself that I had merely let my imagination run away with me.  But then on the fourth or fifth lecture it happened again.

This time he wasn’t sitting next to me, but I could see him sitting a few rows in front of me, and I could feel his anxiety, his panic.  When the lecture ended, I found myself walking up to him, saying hello and asking him which way he was headed after class.

Even though I was going the opposite way, I started walking with him.  And suddenly I blurted out, “I know what you’re thinking, that you’re scared and afraid you’ll disappoint your folks, but you shouldn’t do anything desperate.”

He stopped in his tracks and asked how I knew.  I could also see that he was somehow relieved of a weight that was resting on his shoulders.  I also instantly liked him.

I explained that something like this had never happened to me before, but I was certain I had picked up on his thoughts.  He confessed that everything I had said was true, that he was worried sick.

I made him promise that he wouldn’t do anything that was stupid.  He smiled and thanked me for caring about what might happen to a complete stranger.  He said I must be a good person because few others would have done what I did.

Since then, we’re become friends and it does appear we’re on the same wavelength.  He sometimes picks up on my thoughts but it doesn’t happen very often.

Ava Marzen
Ann Arbor, MI

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