The Burden of Empathy : Chapter 6

Chapter 6

Then I had another dream.

I was talking to her, telling her everything about myself.  Confessing every single pathetic detail of my infatuation with her.  

But suddenly she changed. 

 Suddenly I wasn’t taking to her, but the girl whom I struck whilst pummeling her boyfriend.  But what I was saying wasn’t changing at all, I was just going on and on about how, “I should be the one on her arms, I should be the one with you.  I’m the good guy, I’m the one shy sweet sensitive guy you see in the movies, me.  Not the jocks I see all around me making out with the whores of my school.  I’m the perfect man, why won’t you even talk to me?”

Suddenly, I see myself, beating the crap out of the guy before.  Only I see something different about myself, I’m smiling while I’m doing it.  Each punch I’m being dusted and stained with his blood, and I’m smiling the most vengeful and evil smiles you’ve ever seen.  I grab myself by the collar shaking my reflection “What the fuck are you doing, this is not the path to enlightenment!  Stop that! Why are throwing all the years of self discipline and training out the window?  You were almost the Zen master you wanted to be, why are you throwing it all away?”  Suddenly while I shake this man who is supposedly me, I find now I have the boy I beat gripped by the collar.  I let go but he just lies back on the concrete ground, motionless.  

Suddenly I’m five years old and mom is hugging me while a bunch of other women circling around me, saying how cute I am and pinching my cheek.  I can’t remember everyone, but I saw my older cousins Amy and Lindsey, I saw my Auntie’s and my Grandma, some other cousins.  And I see random friends of my mom and grandma whose faces I remember but names escape me, I saw Jill.  

Then I saw the girl and her boy friend, as bruised and bloody as I left them, and they say something to everyone.  Something inaudible that I can’t remember.  Then all of a sudden nobody smiles at me.  Everyone stops telling me who sweet and cute I am, and everyone just files out of the room.  

“No!” I cry, “Please, I’m just a child!  I’m sorry!  Auntie, Mommy, don’t go!”

Jill and my mom were the last to leave, they wouldn’t even look me in the eye.

“MOMMY!   Please I’m sorry forgive me!  Please don’t leave me” Tears are just falling out of my eyes, I’m screaming and crying, and my own family doesn’t even speak to me. Now in this dark place, I’m all alone.  Crying “I’m sorry. I’m sorry.”  I look in a mirror, and all I see is the couple, on the ground of that parking lot, bloody and motion less.  

That gave me the jolt that woke me up.

Published by James J Jackson

I'm a poet from California.

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