It was an ordinary evening, a typical walk. But, for reasons I cannot explain, I wasn’t surprised when I was captured violently and pulled behind a fence on the dark, vacant path I love. I watched calmly and quietly as my attacker pressed me against the cold, damp wood and held a knife to my chest.
I had always had very little fear of death, as I have always believed that what lies on the other side could only be welcome relief from the pain that is living in this world. I’d clung to hope that someday life would provide me purpose. And in those seconds, I was completely at peace.
I knew that this was the moment for my magic to make a difference. This was my chance to infect someone else with kindness and hope. To pass on the light that made it impossible for me to let life’s hurt overwhelm me, even when it seemed to bury me.
I looked into the face of a young man whose desperation, hatred, lust and fear coated him like armor. But as his eyes bore into mine, I knew his weakness. For in them, I saw an unloved boy, a kid whose life had been infinitely harder than mine, a young man whose heart had been frozen and shattered repeatedly by the disappointments that drown so many.
I lifted my hand to his cheek and saw panic flash before me, but soothed his anxiety with the magic of my voice. “Shhhh, you have nothing to fear from me. I cannot hurt you. But if you allow me, I might help you… comfort you… heal you.”
His eyes grew wide as I spoke. Perhaps he’d never experienced kindness in his life. The idea made me sad and I lifted my other hand to his face to capture a single tear. That drop of saline need told me my magic was working.
As I stroked his unshaven face, his arms fell slack at his sides and I seized the opportunity to pull him into my embrace and plant the seeds that might grow into goodness and mercy. Hope.
I wrapped my arms around his neck and felt sadness roll off of him in waves that brought tears to my own eyes. My empathic heart absorbed it like a sponge, and I wished with everything in me that it truly worked that way. That I could relieve his woeful spirit by soaking up all the negative emotion that addled him.
Perhaps he could feel my thoughts, because the knife dropped from his grip and his arms circled me and held me as though he hadn’t ever felt the pleasure of a simple hug.
He took deep, choppy breaths against my hair, in an effort to evade the sobs that fought to bubble from within. He managed to keep himself from setting free the frightened boy who was never allowed the release of crying into the arms of someone who cared.
He whispered, “Why?” Barely audible, I tried to pull back to look at him, but he clung to me, almost as if I were a life preserver. But before I could answer, his thoughts grew dark and I felt the change course through his body. “You shoulda just said you wasn’t afraid of me…”
He lifted a hand to my throat as he pulled my arms from his neck and took a step back. His eyes were filled with hopelessness and rage. “I might’ve walked, but now, I wanna make you feel the pain you think I’m in.”
I should have felt fear with his words, but instead, I was excited by them. Curious about the level of rage he might muster after such an emotional response to my gift. I stood, fixed by his grip and stare, before my lips turned upward, unable to relinquish control to this lost boy.
“Do you think taking a piece of my body will fill the void? That release within me will give you something you are missing? Is that truly what you believe?”
His fingers tightened, his eyes were wide, and I could see the confusion my questions caused. I could feel his conscience fighting with his desire.
“Taking power will not make you feel more powerful.”
The crack my magic had made in his armor grew, but so did his rage. He leaned into me, as the fingers of his free hand reached between my thighs to grip me, intimately. “You’re wrong,” he growled. “Takin’ this will give me power.”
My smile faded, and I stared into the eyes of a possible rapist, but I didn’t feel the conviction of his words. I wished I could see inside his mind, inside his memories, and inside his lust.
In those wishes, my magic gripped me. Harder than he, and with enough force to choke me. An inch from my lips, I breathed him in and recognized his victimization.
A lifetime of attacks, a decade of cowering, and the inability to stand up against his abuser had left him broken and searching for that which might make him feel strong.
A tear rolled down my cheek as I gasped and struggled to keep from breaking. The weight of his shame crushed my heart and the hatred I felt for the person who created this hurt within him, a person he’d loved, emptied my mind of any self preservation. My desire to heal him forced my hands back to his scruffy jaw.
“Do your worst, sweet boy, if it will make you whole. Take refuge and release in me, but do so with the knowledge that what happened to you, to your heart and mind, will then happen to me. In taking my body, you will take away my hope.”
He stared into my eyes, realization clawing at him. He squeezed his eyelids shut trying desperately to understand what I was doing to him. As firmly as my power had gripped me, it was invading him. Penetrating the very center of what had brought him so many years of strife, and exploding with that one thing he’d been missing forever.
“Hope…” His lips were touching mine, his fingers still holding me, and my own twisting into the soft curls at the base of his neck.
“Yes. Let IT define you, instead of allowing your history to do that.” My whispered words filled his mouth, and I finally broke all the way through.
He released me, but remained planted to the spot, not wanting to disrupt the magic of my touch. Gazing into my eyes, his mind fell open, and I saw his goodness. He exhaled, and I felt his desire, not for power, but for love.
I allowed my lips to touch his briefly before pulling back and pouring all of the love I could muster into one look. He collapsed into my embrace and I breathed against his ear, “If you allow it to take hold, hope will crush fear. It will not take away the pain or struggle, but it will keep it from overwhelming you.
“Hope makes life bearable.”
With his hands on my waist and his face in my hair, he cried. The sobs he’d held in earlier broke free, and I felt the strength of that release. So much more powerful than a sexual one.
“Why? Why are you here?” He whispered, again.
“Fate.” I breathed.
“Are you an angel? …A witch?”
I giggled, “No. Just a silly girl who isn’t afraid. Just a broken girl who wishes she could heal the world. Just a backwards clairvoyant with far too much empathy.”
“A healer,” he sighed. “A magical, mystical healer, set on my path to save me… from myself.”
“Perhaps we were set on each other’s path. For you have saved me, as well. Given purpose to my gift.”
As I stood, comforting him, he held me and I too began to cry. Hearing me, he pulled back, concern changing his face and making him so beautiful.
“Why are you crying?” He touched my cheek, and I smiled at the transformation.
“They are your tears. I’m simply helping you release them faster.”
He held me again, tightly, and the healing truly began.
When I felt him grow stronger, I held him out from me and stared into the birth of my creation. He was suddenly a vividly attractive young man, and confidence seemed to blossom within him. I also recognized the emptiness that he might feel in my absence, like being torn from your mother or your protector.
I stroked his face and whispered, “When my touch is gone, my magic will remain. Use it carefully and wisely, and you will find great love. It won’t always be easy, but hope will see you through it.”
As he stepped back, he didn’t need to speak. We shared something stronger than apologies and more honest. Our spirits had touched. I believe he will always be a part of me.
And I hope that I will always be a part of him. And that he uses the magic I gave him to infect others.
With kindness. And mercy.