Please be advised that today’s post has a trigger warning for self-injury.
This is what empaths do: We feel what others feel. We are the bleeding hearts.
I recognized the sadness right away—eyes don’t lie, and I notice. She wasn’t unfriendly, but she wasn’t warm, couldn’t smile a welcome as I walked up to the counter and ordered. She handed me the hot pastry filled with savory meat, and I could see so plainly the freshly cut wound on her arm, a big X like a fallen cross, the pain it took to carve it. I wanted to give her a hug, to absorb what hurt her, but I was a stranger, and a feeble one at that, likely to sink even if I could absorb, and so I just made sure she saw my smile as I crumpled a bill into the tip jar, gave her the only small token I could to speak love.