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The Mind I Cannot Read

I can read minds. Ever since I was a child.

I know when people lie.

I know when people are happy.

I know their deepest, darkest secrets.

I can’t switch it off.

When I’m in a crowded place, it’s not that distinct unless I focus. It’s like constant chatter at the back of my head. But when I’m alone with someone, I can their thoughts.

I left my parent’s house because I knew what they didn’t say to each other. My mother was tired of my father. My father was having an affair.

I live alone now. I prefer being in crowds.

I make money by selling art. I make abstract art based on the minds I have read. What a person’s truth is on the inside comes outside in a million colours.

I’m exhibiting in Adelaide, at the Art Gallery of South Australia.

Usually, I don’t do to these exhibits and send my agent instead, but today I was required to visit. I don’t want to hear the judgements of people on my work.

I roamed around Adelaide today. I went to the Arcade, the botanical gardens. I ate lunch at a shopping centre. The constant chatter was stuck at the back of my mind.

While I was eating lunch, I was particularly close to a couple sitting next to me.

They weren’t talking, only eating in comfortable silence.

The girl was pregnant. She was thinking about whether she should tell her partner.

Her partner was thinking about breaking up with the girl.

For some reason, reading their minds made me did something I had never done before.

“Excuse me miss?” I asked the girl.

“Yes?” she replies

“Sprouts are not good during pregnancy,” I say.

I can hear Panic. Panic in this couple’s thoughts.

“How did you…” the girl started.

“You’re pregnant?” The guy asks in shock.

“Yes, four weeks due.” She says.

The boy is now reconsidering his decision to break up with her. I slowly slip away from the scene.

I have never done that, but somehow saying that felt good.

There isn’t much crowd at the Art Gallery when I head back. The official launch is only in the evening.

But there is a bald man, looking at my paintings.

He is looking so intently, that I want to know what he is thinking. For once I want to know, and I am not afraid of judgement.

I go and stand next to him, pretending to look at my painting, which is called “Chaos.”

The painting has black spirals protruding from the centre. It’s based on my mom and dad’s relationship.

I try to read this guy’s mind, but I hear nothing.

Completely blank.

This is the first time this has ever happened.

“It’s beautiful.” The man says out loud.

“Thanks,” I say

“Oh, are you the artist?” He asks.

“Yes.” I’m still perplexed. I can’t read his mind.

“You look confused.” He says.

“I am,” I say.

“Come, I’ll teach you something.”


“The truth.”

And he walks away. I follow him. We reach a fountain area.

“You can’t read my mind. But I can read yours.” He says.

“What?” I ask, startled. He knows.

“You can’t read my mind because I’m always in the “Now.” I don’t oscillate back and forth. My mind is still. But yours is not.” He said.

I remember crying after finding out about my dad’s affair. I remember never dating a woman because I could always read her real thoughts. I remember being a loner from my whole life. I want stillness.

“You have a gift, the ability to read minds. But you aren’t able to use it properly. It’s because you need to learn how to make your mind still. When your mind is still, you get control over your abilities.”

I nod.

“Would you like me to teach you?”

I nod again.

“Great, then come with me.” he says.

“Where?” I ask.

“To the land beyond.”

End of Part 1

Source of Keychain: Adelaide, Australia.


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