She was born during that time when parents kept trying to outdo each other by picking a name for their child that no one else had. Whether it was one too many cigarettes made from the leaves of the pot plant growing in the basement, or a blood alcohol level twice the definition of drunk, Sarah and John Beck decided one night to name their first born, Empathy.
She never knew if it was caused by her given name, some genetic anomaly, or a challenging gift she received from the creator, but Empathy turned out to be an Empath. She wasn’t just sympathetic as most people are, that is other than her parents, she was a true Empath, a person who not only feels for another’s misfortune, but who actually feels that misfortune and absorbs some of it or all of it to help relieve the other's pain.
In all of humanity there have only been a few true Empaths, and Empathy was not only one of them, she was unique, for Empathy would feel and absorb a persons pain before they even felt it: A true gift for others, but most would say a true curse for herself.
In a way she received a double curse, because even her parents never knew. Since she absorbed their pain before it was felt, they lived happy lives, and they neglected a daughter who far too often seemed sullen and withdrawn. “Shoulda called her Never Happy,” John told his wife one night, as he pulled the last bit of smoke out of the paper-covered weed in his hand. “The only time I ever see a smile on her face is when she’s out in the yard talking to the damn squirrels.”
John’s cruelty aside, he was right because a true Empath cannot forever just absorb another’s pain or they would die, so they release that pain slowly into nature, all the animals and plants in the yard willing participants in diffusing the negative energy of pain back to where it originated.
John never knew the curse he and Sarah had inflicted on their daughter, never understood why his life was one of seemingly constant happiness. He never understood all of that until that night, and that night will be the rest of this story.
(and you all thought John Beck was just a kind soul. You gave me the prompt, John)