The first time she told me I had to swallow the urge to run.
"Jennifer I've been thinking."
How could she be thinking, how could she be telling me this? "What do you mean?"
"I just started thinking, and now I can't stop. I think about everything now; nature, people, our lives."
She hadn't been facing me and now she turned. It was in her eyes, the thinking was in there. They sparkled with a new light on a new face. "It's a wonderful thing thinking. I can sit there for hours, not having to do anything. I could stay like that forever sometimes. But then other times…"
I wondered if I would get in trouble for knowing her secret, for not turning her in. But I hadn't decided yet what I would do. For a moment sisterly instincts took over. I reached and placed my hand in hers. "It'll be okay."
There was still the sparkle in her eyes, but it was not happy. "Why do they forbid us from thinking? They forbid us from doing many things, there's so much we're missing out on."
"We don't miss out on anything."
"Have you ever seen the beauty of a bird, or the true love of a person?" it was her hand that tightened around mine. "Thinking is a beautiful thing Jen, absolutely beautiful."
"We're not allowed to think. They'll catch you."
"How? They can't get into our minds, they can't see what we're thinking."
I thought back to the last person that was caught. "Remember what they did to Mr Eddie when he was found."
"Mr Eddie didn't hide it. But I can, we can."
I couldn't. "I'm sorry Angeline. I won't tell anyone, but I can't."
She nodded. "Okay Jen." But I could tell inside she was hurt with more pain we could ever be hurt with.
It passed three days before we talked again on the matter.
"I'm going to leave Jen."
I looked up from the conduct book I was reading. "Leave?"
"Everything's different now. I see things differently. There's so much we can't do, I'm going to find somewhere where I can think."
"There's nowhere where you can." I wished she would stop talking about this, I wished she would push it from her mind and never think again.
"There's the rebels."
"That's just a fable, the rebels don't exist."
"We don't know that. We're just told to believe that, just like we're told to believe thinking is bad."
I knew there was no point in telling her not to. It was said that once someone turned to the treacherous thinking there was no saving them; it would be for their own good to turn them in.
My voice was soft when it came out. "They'll catch you, they'll find out that you're gone, and they'll catch you." My voice became softer. "And then they'll come here."
She thought on that, she told me that the next day as she stood at the door. She asked if I'd go with her, but I couldn't, I hadn't started thinking yet.
It was only when they came, when they battered down the door and towered over me, that I understood. They didn't let us think so we didn't feel. But now I felt, and I realised that I had been feeling since the day she left. And it was for one wonderful second that the thought lasted.