It was a day like any other, if that cliché could apply to the life of a mental freak. School beckoned, another opportunity to exercise restraint in my abilities: it was all too easy to read the teacher for answers when called upon, when taking a test, or when writing notes. Words are clumsy things, and thoughts speak so much more.
I never knew certainty was so invasive.
He walked in as I wrote down the teacher's true thoughts about the importance of Shakespearean verse to the realm of English Literature. The school secretary strode in behind him, whispering to the teacher before announcing that, "Mr Lockerbie has just transferred to our school. I trust you'll make him feel quite welcome here."
While the rest of the class nodded their hellos, I stuck my nose into his thoughts, gauging his reaction to our class. He seemed indifferent at first, though I sensed he was mildly amused. A grin twitched at the edge of his mouth before he took his seat, right behind mine.
The teacher continued his praise of the complexities of iambic pentameter, reciting from this play and that.
"He really shouldn't lie like that." A whisper behind me, soft at the edges but firm beneath the surface.
I sat in silence. Even if I had understood that the young man behind me shared my talent, I couldn't turn to face him.
"His lines are rehearsed, just like the snips of poetry he so dutifully recites, honed over years of experience teaching."
A quick prod into his mind told me everything I needed to know: he was a telepath, just like me. In that moment I was no longer alone, no longer so different, no longer unique.
We both remained silent for the rest of the class, and my own mind made attempts to stay focused on the lesson, on the lies, unwilling to reveal anything to the young man behind me.
I confronted him after class, stopped him at the door and introduced myself.
"Dayna," I told him. "The girl you were whispering to during the lecture."
He laughed before replying. "Thomas." I knew his next words before he said them. "But please call me Thom."
"Alright, Thom." A smile lit my face. I was sure he could read me like a book in that instant, I was so overcome with emotion. "Have you had a chance to look around? We can hit the caff', then I can give you the grand tour."
"That would be great, Dayna." He shared my smile. "Lead the way."