We all have awareness, we just choose not to listen to those senses that go beyond the basics. Rather we are told and taught NOT to listen. That these are baser areas and new agey: “The Gut”, Instinct, Intuition, Pheromones. That as an evolved people we don’t need these additional (or perhaps just more finely tuned) senses. That reason, logic and the senses that doubting Thomas had are enough. But I’ve always felt an understanding of people. And it’s been ascribed to “soft skills”, “attentiveness”, “knowing how to read body language”, “being tactile” or in the language of the wuss, “empathy.” I don’t give a fuck what you call it. I got it. We all do, if we chose to listen and pay attention. But we have more insight now through our index finger’s pressure and piezo-electric charge on the screen of our phone than we do using the same finger to trace patterns on the small of our lovers back and feeling that two-way electricity and communication that has nothing to do with what we are saying. We’re going blind and we don’t even know it.I was walking with my lover. Feeling a bit of unease, until I slid a couple of fingers under her loose shirt and hooked them over the waist of her pants. I liked these pants. Not only did they make her ass look great, they were just at the right spot where I could lay my hand on her, comfortably and not look like a perv in public. I felt the small hairs on her back raise a bit, and a mental purr roll down her back. The sun shone, and for this moment, all was good in the world.I had found the path through the back of the park and zoo during one of my solo urban explorations. It switched back and forth from this gem of a park, down the hill, maintained beautifully, until it hit bottom. From there, half vacant, warehouses as beat up as a Junior league hockey play after taking one too many pucks to the face, spread out for a few acres. Faded signs, rusty stairs, and few people. I loved this area, the juxtaposition of the manicured park and the willful neglect of the industrial park. A short walk through there and around the corner was the rest of the exacta. A beautifully restored factory district now catering to the upwardly mobile, Gentrified beyond belief. As we walked down the path from the park, she looked at me, and said “You’re not going to do it, are you?” I looked at her in feigned (poorly feigned I should say) innocence. “Do what?” Knowing this was the same conversation we had a thousand times.She said it without saying a word, that exasperated look stitched along with mild amusement. But I heard it loud and clear, “You know what.””Ohhhhh thaaaaaat.” Pause. “Of Course.” And I smiled. Sigh. “Don’t you realize people just want to be left alone. You’re doing this just to get a reaction.””Yup. What’s your point?”As we walked down, we saw the first person. A female jogger, coming slowly up the steep hill. “Don’t do it,” she pleaded helplessly.And I whispered to her as the runner came closer and closer. “Don’t look at them…Don’t look. They seem OK. Just don’t look” and then right as the runner was in front of us, but still NOT LOOKING, I smiled and said loudly, “HI!” with my friendliest face on. She just stared straight ahead, and ran by. “Asshole” I whispered. “How do you know what they say?” she said. “Well don’t you think that’s what they would say?””Well you ARE an asshole””Why, because I’m friendly?””Because you do this JUST to get a reaction.””I do it because I’m friendly….and maybe to get a reaction””Oh shit, here she comes!” I said, smiling, and smiling big.”Who?””Miss I-just-ate-a-whole-bag-of-lemons.””I knew she looked familiar, don’t do it to her, why do you bother, she will never talk to you.””Doesn’t matter.” Pause. Speaking in the worst imitation of an old womans voice “Why do I always have to run into these people? I just want to be left alone.””well maybe you should leave her alone.””No way””Why not?”Feigned innocent look again. “What if I am the only bright spot of her day?” And what I left unsaid, was the certainty of that sentiment.Bag of lemons walked by, me not hearing much as I was deep in banter and plausibility with my other. But I squeezed in a smile and a “How are you.”She glared at me, and said not a word, but I heard it. “Beautiful day, and what a nice couple.” My other mumbled something, sort of like “Hi” crossed with “Sorry.” We kept walking and soon at the bottom we saw a couple walking towards us. Staring at their feet as they were together, but not. Each staring at the 3 x 4 lit screen in their hands as they walked down the middle of the street.I started whispering. “I hope she doesn’t look over here.” “I wonder who he’s texting” “mindless blather, type type type type type, type type type”She whispered to me, spitting the words “Don’t! Just Don’t”But I had already started the jaws theme song “Bum bum….bum bum…..” I was closing in on the unaware couple. Fifteen feet, ten feet. My partner decoupled, pulled away. But I couldn’t resist. And then I was between them. “OH excuse me! I’m sorry!!!!” and they both jumped and looked up for the first time. “Asshole!” I mouthed to my girlfriend, based on the glares I was getting from all three.”Asshole!” she mouthed back, and I looked at the two thinking the same thing, as they were once again, heads down, on a collision course with the uphill path.We made it to dinner, with only three detours in the warehouses, climbing on the roofs and walking through abandoned spots. And time flew, for when we left it was already dark.We got to the warehouses and the extremely unlit path. I started walking. “Where are you going?” she asked, and in her voice, I heard her “I’m scared. Why doesn’t he ever pay attention. I know, because he doesn’t worry about stuff like this.”And she was right, I didn’t worry, but not just because I’m a man, but because I knew. There was nothing there, and nothing to fear. But I couldn’t tell her that and explain how I knew. So I had to find another way.”Well we have pretty much two choices. We can walk up this path, and be at the car in fifteen minutes, or I can call Uber, wait in the abandoned warehouse district until someone gets here and then drive a big ten plus mile circle at who knows how much money just to get to the car that’s 500 feet up this path.”I waited. and felt the fear on her. I put my hand on her. “I promise, we will go quietly and quickly and I will keep the flashlight app on. “I heard her, even without her speaking “He’s always so carefree. He has NO clue, and never thinks ahead on these things.””I promise, I will not let anything happen. And I also promise I’ll think ahead next time””good, because you have no idea what it’s like.””you’re right, I don’t, but it will be OK, I promise.”And with that, my hand hooked in her waistband again, we walked back. In silence. She feeling I don’t listen and me knowing all I do is hear, and both of us being right.
This short piece was part of a writing class I took, each day you were given a prompt/subject to write about. This prompt was: WRITING PROMPT Write a short story about yourself as if you were psychic and able to read the thoughts of those around you. A brief character study of the inner workings of the people around you. The link: http://www.writeyourselfalive.org/