Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Third Degree of Freedom .


Since Joss Whedon doesn’t have a show currently on the air, I don’t watch much TV anymore, with the lone exception of Medium. I enjoy Patricia Arquette (Stigmata) as a fairly realistic psychic, partly because I have a tendency for dreams and flashes, too. I like the occasional sprinkling of science (I work with rocket scientists like the psychic’s husband), the juggling of kids and home life, and the fact that Arquette is attractive in a human way but not the drop-dead gorgeous Barbie-doll sort of way that makes her impossible to connect with. In fact, for all its twists, I think it’s the details of ordinary life that pegs this show for me as well as a genuinely loving mate who doesn’t quite understand sometimes but tries to be supportive anyway within his own flawed limits.

I discuss it with Mariah, but she’s in a pissy mood. Does she scare men off more because of her profession, she wants to know, or because she’s a psychic?

“Men get nervous either way,” she says. “They think I can read their minds.”

I nod. I’ve encountered the same from non-doubting Thomases. They don’t get that I can sense only what they openly transmit to me. I don’t try to get behind their shields. I’m not sure if I can, anyway. What they try to hide often comes out in other ways, much more tangible and scientific. I don’t have to be psychic to read their body language when they talk about a female colleague in glowing terms while avoiding eye contact with me. I don’t need TV-screen flashes in my mind of them in bed to know that there’s a physical connection, maybe an emotional one. It’s written all over them. But if they find out I’m an intuitive, they run like hell for fear I’ll read their minds, see their dirty little secrets.

Obviously I’m not that adept at this new gift and getting through people’s shields or I would have figured out things in my marriage before I did. That relationship toyed with my sense of trust, but I held my breath and jumped back out there, into new friendships, men and women, giving my heart and my trust to new people in my life rather than close down and become jaded. I fought hard not to lose my sense of trust. Sometimes that worked out well. Other times, my trust was misplaced.

“They worry I’ll invade their privacy,” Mariah complains. “Actually, they’re the ones who invade my mind. Sending signals I don’t necessarily want.”

Flying By Night novel

I know what she means. I usually know within ten minutes if I’d go out with a guy. It saves time. I don’t always know why, but warning bells go off in my head to stay clear of the guy. Sometimes I do know why, exactly why. I don’t have to waste a couple of years on a narcissist to find out his intentions and meanwhile get my heart broken. That’s…convenient…helpful. I can also sense—now—when a man is sincere and would never do anything intentional to hurt me. Even better.

Sometimes I’ve been presented with eyewitness accounts of a man’s honor—or lack thereof—and I’ve had a hard time reconciling it with what my intuition has told me. In every case so far, those eyewitness accounts have proven to be wrong. So I’ve come to trust the good signals when I get them. And the bad.

“It’s kinda insulting,” Mariah continues. “I hate it when I’m upfront with a man about my abilities and he runs away. Like dating a psychic is dangerous to his secrets, I guess. Like I’m some sort of psychic stalker chick.”

I have to agree. People who know I’m an intuitive always think I know more about them through psychic means than I do. They have no idea how transparent they are to anyone astute enough to notice the little things, both good and bad.

“I don’t know why the men I do date are afraid of me,” Mariah persists. “If I go out with a man at all, it’s because I’ve already seen through his shit and I like him anyway.”

Absolutely. “So don’t tell them you’re psychic,” I suggest.

Mariah shakes her head. “Doesn’t matter. Even if my psychic antennae are down, I’ll figure out an hour into the date what type of personality disorder they have and then I’m the one running like hell.” She sighs. “But that’s what I get for being a psychiatrist.”


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