John drove off quickly, and he didn’t hear the “You have a nice day too dad,” reply from his daughter Empathy. Feeling good about what she thought was a moment of kindness from her father there was a smile on her face when the bell began ringing, and she hurried toward the school.
Going as fast as her long, thin legs could carry her it was only at the last minute that she saw the school bully pop out from behind a tree and stick out his leg in front of her path. An instant before her leg struck his, she felt the slight sting he would have felt if she were not an Empath, and as her leg hit his, she lurched forward and toward the ground spewing her books in all directions as she tried to stop her fall. Gravity defied her will, and she hit the ground hard with her outstretched left arm.
Her teacher standing at the school door saw the entire series of events unfold and started running toward Empathy even before she hit the ground. Still more than thirty feet away she heard the crunch of bone as Empathy’s palm hit the ground and the bone in her forearm snapped with the jagged end piercing through the skin. Empathy had already rolled in to a sitting up position when the teacher kneeled, looked at the protruding bone and then said, “Oh my God, Oh my God,” and dialed 911.
Empathy’s face was scrunched up slightly, but only because the teacher was feeling a little sick from looking at the bloodied bone sticking through the skin on Empathy’s forearm. “You must be in horrible pain,” she said, and was surprised when Empathy shook her head. “Doesn’t it hurt, Child?” she asked incredulously, and again Empathy’s head moved in the “no” direction before she responded. “Why would it hurt?”
It would be difficult to write and give full understanding to the flood of back and forth questions that then transpired, but before Empathy was settled into the ambulance, she finally understood who and what she was. She even tested her conclusions by pinching the teacher as she was placed on the stretcher, telling the woman, “I’m sorry,” which she really wasn’t. Having felt almost nothing, the teacher touched her shoulder lightly and said. “Don’t worry. I’ll get a hold of your parents so they can meet you at the hospital.”
It was very late in the afternoon when her parents finally showed up at the hospital. Sarah told the school principal that she could not leave her job early, and John, a few strokes behind Len when the golf club manager located him walking from the third green, was not about ready to forfeit the rest of the game. “Just another two holes,” he said to his buddy, Len, and then repeated that for the rest of the eighteen-hole game followed by two beers afterward to settle up for his loss.
First in the ambulance and then when she reached the hospital, for the first time in her life Empathy was subjected to constant kindness. The pain killer in the IV wasn’t needed for her own injury, her internal well was pretty full, but it also worked to block the pain she would normally receive from others, and it worked even in the hospital emergency room where she waited without her parents for two hours before she was rushed into surgery to repair her broken arm.
“We can’t afford to have her stay in the hospital overnight,” John was yelling at the doctor when Empathy first opened her eyes. “Our damn deductable is high. Just give her some pain killers so we can take her home.” John’s insistence became louder and louder until the doctor finally gave in.
“We’ll give her a shot, but you two make sure she gets two of these pills every four hours throughout the night. Don’t miss a dose or she’ll be in agony.”
Barely listening, John told his wife, “Get her ready, I’ll get the car and be waiting outside the front entrance, but don’t be long.”
Empathy was in the back seat with her eyes almost closed when John’s car started its slide on the deserted country road a half-mile from their house and then careened down the steep embankment before slamming into a tree.
The two people in the front seat learned a few lessons about Empaths that night before their hearts stopped for good. They learned, but did not at all understand in their agony that an Empath can’t absorb your pain if they cannot feel it.
And they also learned that their daughter Empathy had no understanding at all of the word sympathy.