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Antzy
December 23rd, 2010, 11:29 AM
Hi everyone! I'm new to the site and new to writing. I've hardly ever written anything besides essays in school, so this is your fair warning. It only took a few minutes to write, but I'd like to hear what you have to say about it. And don't be afraid of being too harsh! Any comments are welcome. I know it's a little out-there, so just say what's on your mind.

Jordan shifted uncomfortably in her seat. The girl in the desk behind her was tapping her foot incessantly and had been for the past twenty minutes. The thin floor of the semi-permanent classroom sent vibrations up the legs of Jordans chair. She scribbled notes on the worker-production function and stared intensely at her economics professor, trying not to think about the tapping, but she found it impossible. Each thud made by the girls high-heeled leather boots caught her attention and drew her mind way from the lecture. She began to think of things she could say to the girl.
Excuse me, I would appreciate it if you stopped tapping your foot.
Would you mind not doing that with your foot?
Please dont do that, its making it hard to concentrate.
She didnt like the sound of any of them. She would certainly come off as rude. What would the girl think of her from then on, if that had been their first interaction? What if they ended up working on a project together or she had to ask the girl for a pencil, or her notes? She had no friends in the class, and she didnt intend to start making enemies.
But the sound and the vibrations were becoming impossible to handle. How was it that no one else had told the girl to cut it out? It was getting louder, as if she was almost stomping her foot over and over. Jordan felt her desk shake each time the girls boot fell. Why couldnt this person tell that she was bothering people? Why did she feel the need to repeat that obnoxious motion for so long?
Suddenly the girl coughed, and the vibrations stopped. Jordan sat ridged for a few moments, waiting, but it appeared that the tapping was not going to continue. Relieved, Jordan relaxed and slid lower in her seat. The girl coughed again. Jordan crossed her legs. Another cough. It occurred to her that the cough might have been more of a throat-clearing, meant to get someones attention. Did the girl want to tell Jordan something? Did she know how upset Jordan had been at her? But she couldnt unless she had said something under her breath without meaning to. Could that have happened? Maybe the girl knew what she was thinking. Maybe Jordan had been so distressed by the noise that her thoughts had been audible.
Can you hear what Im thinking? Jordan thought.
The girl coughed.
Jordan was horrified. She knew it seemed impossible that the girl could read minds, but she had just confirmed it, hadnt she? Jordans heart began to race. She tried to clear her mind, to focus totally on the professors voice, and when that wasnt enough she stared at a dark stain on the carpet and began to think of how it might have happened, but that did no good. The ominous possibility that the girl could see inside her mind consumed her thoughts. She felt completely exposed and helpless. Her thoughts were completely available to the girl, yet she had no idea what the girl was thinking. Perhaps Jordans mind was simply too weak. Perhaps others could protect their thoughts from the world, but she lacked that ability.
She sat in a panic for the rest of the lecture, unsuccessfully trying not to think about what she was now certain was happening. She tried to breathe deeply to calm herself down, but she worried that this would let the girl know that Jordan had found her out. When class ended, Jordan stayed at her desk until the girl walked out. She didnt look back or pay Jordan any attention. The terror began to subside and Jordan left the classroom. Then she headed to the counselors office to drop the class from her schedule. She knew she couldnt sit in the same room with the girl for an entire semester.

Sync
December 23rd, 2010, 11:34 PM
Hello,

welcome to the site.

I just enjoyed the read, reminded me when I was high, how that panic could set in, but could see how paranoia could take hold of someone. Especially someone new to a school. I thought it was her own foot and cough for a bit.

if i was to say anything about the writing in a critique way, it would be to watch your commas and 'the' usage. But even so, the story read well enough to not bother me as a reader.

enjoyed

Sync

shadows
December 24th, 2010, 12:15 AM
Hi Antsy

Welcome to the site and braving your first post - never easy.

The annoyance of the tapping and being afraid to say anything reminded me of a place I once moved into and one of the girls had her music up very loud. I had an awful migraine but was scared to ask her to turn her music down but eventually had to because it bothered me so much. Don't think she liked that much but we did eventually become friends.

You convey the panic very well. How scary if someone could really read your mind.

A couple of thoughts but only change if you feel they are an improvement.


What would the girl think of her from then on, if that had been their first interaction?

Perhaps:

What would the girl think of her if that was their first interaction


Jordan sat ridged for a few moments

did you mean Rigid?

I enjoyed the frustration and anxiety in this piece.

Thanks for the read.

Antzy
December 24th, 2010, 12:04 PM
@ Sync: Thanks for the comment! Glad you enjoyed it. And you’re right, I’ve always been a little over-enthusiastic about commas. I’ll make some changes.

@ shadows: Thanks for the welcome. Good to hear things worked out with music girl, haha. And your suggestions are spot on. I’ll make sure to rewrite those parts (wouldn’t want people to think Jordan had unexplained ridges on her body).

The forum seems a lot less intimidating now. Thanks to both of you for reading and for your thoughtful critiques.