Empathy… my gift… my curse.
I was the happiest kid on earth. My parents exerted incredible efforts to hide their sorrow from my immature eyes. I only knew their smiles. They concealed their tears and their anger from me. They were talented actors. I cherished the joy they showed me and the love they gave me. My parents simply wanted to protect their only child; whatever the consequences may bare. I grew up naive but happy; innocent but loved.
The moment they feared most finally came. They could not protect me anymore. They had to offer me to the clutches of society. I was horror struck by the chaos that unfolded before me. The screams, the rage, the tears… School haunted me for years.
I mostly kept to myself. I was the silent kid; the shy kid. I kept studying, not school subjects but people. Smiles became a rarity for me. All the kids played together while I stood alone. Friends.. a foreign concept for me. I was lonely. I felt sad, desperation slowly crept around me. It was engulfing me. Then he came. The first of them. Out from the darkness, a light to show me the way. He held out a hand and invited me to play with him. He became my first friend. He showed me how to interact with other people. I still kept mostly to myself. I kept analyzing but the fear of loneliness had vanished. He had saved me.
High school started. I had already matured at an incredible rate. I exercised everything I had learned from my surveillance of social interactions. I made many friends. We played together; our individual happiness amplified by that of the others. I had never felt such blissful joy. I relished in their jubilation. Every smile and every laugh I created radiated through me. I wanted to make everyone happy. I tried to extinguish everyone’s sadness by listening to them and helping them through their pain… By giving them love.
I quickly learned of all the suffering that existed in the world. War, hate, sorrow, for a time, they were all I perceived. I wanted to change the world. I had a special gift. A talent at understanding others. I could help them, the ones that suffered. I wanted to show people how easy it was to be happy. I could give them love. I thought it would solve everything. I thought it was going to be simple. I had ideas of grandeur. I wanted to be the next Jesus… the next Gandhi… the next savior.
Humanity needed a savior. And I tried to be what it needed. I concocted plans. I was a great visionary. Why stop myself at simply helping my friends and loved ones. However, I was young. A kid… and nobody listens to children. Why would they? How could a child know anything about life and its intricacies. How could a kid teach anything? My authority overruled by my age. If I could not save the masses, then I would have to find another solution. I resolved myself to help the world one person at a time. Helping people, one by one, to slowly save humanity from its sadness.
I helped others. I spread happiness. However, desolation was stronger than I could ever become. People kept asking more and more of me. Desperation was now the one that crept up around me. Its claws tearing through me, weakening my resolve. Dreams of failure haunting me. How could I ever save a world that did not want to be saved? My resolve was broken.
Then she appeared… Our salvation. A fallen angel who’s light radiated brighter than any sun. Possibly brilliant enough to burn away the shadows that grasped our world. Her glare could absolve any sin, her smile could cure any disease, her words could heal any wound, her touch… her simple touch could inspire love.
I stood aghast. Jealous, at first, of her incredible power. Then I saw it. My gift, my curse, it showed me what others blindly ignored. However formidable she seemed, she could not hide her doubt, her fear, her sadness from me. Her charisma was indisputable. She had the power to save masses at a time, but I could feel her strength was fading. Her resolve was withering, as mine had. She doubted herself. Anxiety ate at her. She feared what would happen if she failed. Her light was dimming.
By her simple presence, she gave me the most precious of gifts: Hope. She had renewed my resolve. I knew I could not save the world. Not yet. Not alone. But what if I helped the one who could. I vowed to protect this fallen angel. I vowed to make her smile, to make her smile, to never let her give up. I would give her hope as she had given me. I would fuel her wavering flame and together, we would save the world.