People of Unseen–Amanda


As the door of the convenience store swung open, Amanda smelled samosas, hot and tangy and delicious. She stopped in the middle of the sidewalk as a young man stepped from the store with a paper bag slightly stained by grease. She could almost hear her therapist voice in her head telling her samosas would be perfect. At her last session, the therapist had issued an ultimatum. If she was not going to take medication for her anxiety, she had to address the issues that went along with it, such as lack of sleep and weight loss. Amanda entered the store.

Her anxiety came from her Gift, the ability to see the divergent possibilities in front of a person with a choice to make. Some days she was overwhelmed by the potential futures she saw. But he idea of medication terrified her. Not that she loved her Gift, but she always saw the possible timelines settle into the choice the person made. Medication might make it harder for her to discern the actual choices, leaving her more disoriented people actually made. Not that she gave that explanation to her therapist. At least, she now had a couple people to talk to about it.

A few weeks earlier, she had met Giovanni, an empath with the ability to sooth other people’s emotions. As she saw him trying to decide whether or not to accidentally bump into her, easing her anxiety in the process, she had been floored. Amanda smiled to herself. Giovanni had been equally stunned when she named his Gift. A dinner invitation to meet Giovanni’s partner Brindle was in her phone before they parted ways. Now the two were her closest friends, and confidants who understood both her Gift and its consequences.

Inside the store, the smell of curry and good Indian food had Amanda take a deep breath. She looked over the menu of ready to go food on a screen by the cash register, placed an order for chicken and spinach curries as well as three samosas. An easy dinner tonight.

While her order was prepared, she wandered the aisles. Near the back of the store, a teenager scowled at cans of prepared pasta. Dizziness hit Amanda. Her Gift kicked in. At that moment she saw two girls: one picked up a can, stuffed it in her backpack and headed for the exit; the other put her hands in her pockets and slumped toward the door. She’s thinking about stealing the food, Amanda thought. Glancing up she saw a security camera. If the girl took the can, the storekeeper might well catch her in the act and call the police.

As the girl reached for the can, Amanda got between her and the shelf. “Don’t do it. I’m pretty sure you will get caught.”

“No skin off your back if I do.”

Amanda studied the teen, wondered if she was homeless. The pinched look of hunger was there in her eyes, so even if she had a place, she did not have enough to eat. “I’ll buy it for you.”


Why indeed? Amanda asked herself. The answer was easy. “The choice you were about to make worried me. It’s easier on me if you don’t have to make it.”


And I am not going to explain my Gift to you. “It’s a long story. Just meet me on the sidewalk.” Amanda returned to the counter with the can. She called up the payment app on her phone, and the shopkeeper scanned it. Outside, the teenager looked ready to bolt, nervously tapping her toe against her heel. Amanda handed her the can and the bag with the samosas. “Sorry I can’t help more,” she said.

“Why would you?” the girl asked.

Amanda decided to tell the truth, though the girl would not hear the whole story. “Every day I see people getting into trouble in ways that I can’t help. It makes me really anxious.” Amanda shrugged. “Being able to get you a meal is a triumph of sorts. For me. For you, it’s just one meal.”

“Better than nothing.” The girl stuffed the food in her pack and turned away. A couple steps along the sidewalk, she stopped. “Thanks,” she said without looking back. “There should be more people like you.”

“You are welcome,” Amanda said. But I would not wish this Gift on anyone. Maybe I should pick up a donut to try to keep my therapist happy.


About cathyhird

I am an author, former farmer, retired minister, and when I get a chance, a weaver. Storytelling that inspires is important to me. I have two novels set in ancient Greece, Moon of the Goddess and Before the New Moon Rises.
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