Impossible Observations

Being an invisible observer wasn’t easy. The two people in the room were unaware of my presence. I wasn’t there only physically. I was also in each of their minds, which made the task of observation seem impossible. Two men sat across from each other. Rain outside seemed to speak to me: you’re fortunate to be inside and dry. Was I? I had no idea what would happen if I were to make noise. Would the middle-aged psychotherapist and his middle-aged client become aware of the intruder, me, who somehow was present without being seen? As minutes passed and rain made sounds against the windows, I struggled to accept what I was experiencing: I hadn’t asked to inhabit these two minds and bodies as they unconsciously and consciously communicated to each other. Nonverbal communication was so much more real than I’d ever imagined. The client, who in some way reminded me of myself, appeared anxious one moment and calm the next. The therapist across from him seemed aware that he was somehow experiencing the client’s moment to moment subjective reality. This intrigued me. The therapist was focused on two subjective realities simultaneously, his own and that of his client. There was one moment when the client’s tone of voice seemed to say that he was calmer, and as this impression became part of the therapist’s conscious awareness, the therapist imagined a river from his own childhood on a warm sunny summer afternoon. Moments later the client appeared anxious, and I observed that the image of the river didn’t disappear from the therapist’s mind. The client soon became calm again, and his therapist wondered how long this calmness would last. I wondered how long I would remain invisible.

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