“I’m a true empath,” Hotman tells me while we’re sitting at the fountain. I hear this a lot lately from my friends. Maybe I know a lot of Indigo children, artists, and empaths, or maybe this is what we say when we feel a lot of things, and especially when we’re porous and spongy to the world, to others.
“I don’t know if I’m an empath, but I know I acted like a container for other people’s stuff, shit that wasn’t mine, until I couldn’t do it because there was no room for me. But I did that to myself, and try not to do it anymore…”
“I have a lot of narcissists in my life, people who need a lot of attention and validation and I get tired. Really tired, I’m kind of tired all the time.”
I put down my bowl of ice cream and stand in front of him. I want to raise his arms up so I can take off his heavy suit with my own hands, peel the armour off. I want to be the superman-sized person he can sit on in that moment, a deep enough bassinet to hold all his discomfort and fatigue, a journal with a locket that he can write all his secrets inside. I put my hands through his beautiful, shiny, black mane and massage the back of his neck. He purrs and leans into me. His body is like mine, pliable and warm and full of love it’s never fully given over.
Hotman and I agree to see a movie but he flakes. I text him: “I’m not really the kind of woman who takes rain cheques, but I’ll make an exception this one time.” He’s very grateful, even calling me “Joy”, promising to text the next day to reschedule. I really want to be light and fun and totally chill except I’m full of anxiety and starting to wish I’d never met him. Still, I'm doing my best impression of a woman who stands still and waits for the hunter to hunt.
When I don’t hear from him the next day, my head starts to creak. To people around me, there's nothing sounding out from inside my skull, but I can hear it moaning and creaking from spinning really fast; whirring; sorting through hundreds of devastating scenarios and things I’ve said or written. It's a deep and penetrating ache, one that breaks through silence with blunt force; it wants relief; it wants a drink, a drug, a text. Just one word. One. It wants love, a kiss, a hug; it wants meaning; it wants God and beauty and chocolate cake.
The ache is a million dandelion puffs in a windless field.
I re-read his text like a hundred times as I walk myself to the Aesop store to drop cash on really nice skin products I can’t afford, but hey, I don’t text. And just as I'm almost getting home to make myself dinner and put on a mud mask, a gentle summer breeze rushes through my hair and the last of the anxious waves passes and the sun is shining and I'm back to normal, back to myself, he texts:
Sorry for my lateness, shitty day. Tmw I have a brunch at noon in old Montreal, but my afternoon is open if ever you are free and fancy doing sum'thin'. Hope your week was decent. xx