Author: Franco Amati

It took nine dates for Jolene to let me inhabit her mind. With a woman as intriguing as her, it’s tempting to sneak in without permission. But trust me, it’s always more enjoyable with permission.

I snuck into the head of the last girl I dated, and boy did I regret it. When you’re uninvited, the experience is so much darker and more intrusive. No one wants to be wandering around in a place they’re not welcome.

But this girl Jolene. Her mind is luscious. Her thoughts reverberate with richness and clarity. She’s self-conscious, sure. And she dislikes a lot about herself, especially her body. But the incisiveness with which she perceives other people is extraordinary. It’s almost as if she can see into them as well as she sees through them.

In the time she gave me to explore her depths, I borrowed her amethyst eyes. I used them to view my own friends and family in a new light. For the first time, I was able to dissect them and expose their superficiality. From Jolene’s perspective, I could see how selfish they all were. What a revelation it was to unveil their true intentions.

Jolene was five feet, four and weighed one hundred and twenty-five pounds. But when I looked in the mirror using Jolene’s eyes, I saw exaggerated proportions. Her breasts, which I had come to know quite well after our first date, were much smaller from Jolene’s point of view. And her hands and feet, which had the finest digits I’d ever seen, looked knobby and grotesque.

The longer I inhabited Jolene, the more I learned about her fears and worries. Jolene’s father abandoned their family when she was four years old. He chased another woman across the galaxy, leaving her mother insecure and alone with two children to raise. Jolene saw how loneliness destroyed her mother. And she was afraid it would crush her too.

But Jolene, being the perceptive person that she was, knew that chasing other people wasn’t a cure for isolation. Instead, she examined others, learned about them, analyzed their motivations, and so rarely let them in without the deepest of scrutiny.

Call it a shield or a buffer. But I admired Jolene’s skepticism of other people. Unfortunately, the side effect of developing such a critical eye for others is the incidental turning of that critical eye onto yourself.

Jolene may not have my ability to inhabit other people’s minds. That cognitive talent doesn’t exist in her people. But she is wise beyond measure. And I’m thankful that she’s allowed me to get this close. I’ll be lucky if she allows me to love her. And it’s a relief to me that I won’t have to make a good impression on her father.