My sister and I used to be able to read each others minds. This was long before she moved to Berkeley to get her PhD in neuroscience to prove that human beings were incapable of doing so.
We were born two-and-a-half years apart. One look from me and she knew what I was thinking. Whether it was a short, side head-nod to the right, where she knew to leave. Or a longer nod to the left, where she knew to follow, she always knew.
When we were in high school my sister had a friend named Iris. She’d catch me looking at her and she knew what I wanted. She’d turn her eyebrows down and I knew that meant hands off.
Iris loved to send my heart racing, wearing nothing but a long white T-shirt, no bra, and short-shorts which always seemed to mysteriously disappear once my parents went to sleep.
I would hang out downstairs and watch TV with them and as soon as my sister would go to the bathroom, Iris would stretch out on the couch, or reach across the coffee table for the remote control, giving me a little peek.
When my sister would come back into the room, she’d catch me staring at Iris as she reached innocently for the blanket, pretending she was cold. My sister would spin on her heels, girt her teeth and glare at me. Then she’d make a four-fingered slicing motion at her neck, and I knew I better stop eye-fucking her friend.
I moved out of my parent’s house when I was nineteen. A year later my sister went to college in Texas, and then later to Berkeley, to study brain-mapping with some of the most cutting-edge neuroscientists in the world. In those ten years I thought we had lost our mind-reading abilities as we grew apart.
My sister and I both had gotten married and my wife and I flew out to San Francisco for our fifth year wedding anniversary to visit. We ate and drank in some of the city’s finest restaurants.
On our fourth night there, we were walking back from a little Mexican place in the Mission District when I stepped off the curb. I didn’t see the bus barreling down the street until the last second. As time slowed down, I looked over and caught a glimpse of my sister’s wide-eyed frozen face. And in that split second before impact, I knew what she knew.