Grace hated waking up this morning just as much any other morning. She hated them all equally if that was worth anything. Mornings just weren't her thing, and as it turned out a lot of things weren't exactly Grace's thing. A sliver of sunlight poured through a gap in the blackout curtains hung behind her bed. Grace never set an alarm, the sun always seemed to find a way to wake her up. Before she even opened her eyes Grace's To Do's for the day were imagined. Delicious iced lattes from Tucci's and another curtain to defeat the ever loving sun, were at the top of the list.
Is three curtains on one window ridiculous? I don't think I really care.
Even with the promise of Tucci's, it's hard for Grace to get out of bed today. The chilly March mornings are still going strong and all 5 feet 2 inches of her are double burrito wrapped in a heavenly down comforter. Just as she thought about burying her face in the pillow and drifting off for a few more minutes, Mrs. Baker's dog came out to take her morning "doodie poo" and that was the end of that. It didn't take much more baby(doggy?) talk to get Grace out of bed and on her way to the shower. It did however remind her to add a few things to her list.
"Alexa. Add Blackout curtain to shopping list. And ear plugs."
After a long, hot shower the house smelled of lovely citrus and eucalyptus. Grace loved anything calming and stress relieving, even at the start of the day. Every day starts almost the same for Grace. Waking up to the much hated sun. Contemplating not ever leaving the bed while simultaneously creating an entire list of reasons why she needs to. Followed by a relaxing shower and finally but most importantly, meditation.
Ha. Meditation. That word is still funny to me. I prefer preparation.
While the preparation wasn't new to Grace, the term meditation was. It wasn't until recently when she moved to her new house that she needed to look for different ways to control the visions. After a very long and mostly one sided conversation with Grace's mother, she decided to take her advice and talk to someone about it. Her mother knew that not everyone would understand Grace's life but a good therapist could have some great ideas if she just stuck to telling them the basics. Grace didn't think it could hurt to get some actual real life coping skills while making her mother happy. The only downside was explaining her whole life to a complete stranger and it's not the normal life you'd expect of a 30 something photographer.
The day of the appointment with Dr. Williamson, Grace had serious doubts. The bed burrito was exceedingly warm and inviting that morning and the promise she'd made to her mother didn't seem like such a good idea anymore.
What if this guy thinks I'm crazy? Could he admit me? No. See this is why I don't do this kind of thing. I love my mom but I don't think I can do this now. I didn't really think it through. Just the basics? I'm stressed doc, got the weight of the world on me.....metaphorically speaking of course. Pfft. I don't even know if I can manage to find where I should begin.
Grace more than managed where to begin, she finally let out all that she had been keeping in for years. There has only been two people Grace really opened up and revealed her true self to. The first was Ms. Corrado, Grace's mother. By the time Grace was 3 years old Martha knew her baby girl was different. She often times shared stories with her Mother about Martha's own childhood that Grace was never told and had no way of knowing. Martha was never concerned, "A gifted child is a gift from God." Or so she said anyway. The second was Dr. Williamson.
"So. Miss Corrado, what should we talk about today? Would you like to elaborate on your empathy theory?"
"I mean it's not really a theory. That's what I am. I'm an empath. I'm not a clairvoyant or psychic, I can't predict anything. I don't know where Timmy's body is." Dr. Willamson looked at Grace over his glasses and his brow furrowed in disapproval at that comment. Well it's true, I don't. "I don't want to think of myself as some thing. I want to feel like some one. That's hard to do when the cashier hands me my change and I touch their hand long enough to see they were molested as a child. I see what they saw. I feel all that pain. All the time. I just need to learn how to not care. I can't care about everyone. I used to try, but you just can't."
"How does that make you feel? That you can't care about everyone?"
Grace and Dr. Williamson talked through several of his other appointments that day. She left feeling renewed having another person in the world with whom she could share her secret with. To unburden herself to, even if she was paying for it.
Grace guessed she was as ready as she'd ever be to get on with the day. She strolled out of the house with her brown bomber jacket and leather note book in tow. Dr. Willamson started giving her homework again after the incident and Grace thought she might as well do something while sucking down her latte.
Brain workouts count towards burning latte calories right? I'm reading and writing as i'm drinking! Gotta count for something.
The walk to Tucci's wasn't very far from Grace's cottage and that was one of the greatest selling points her realtor ever brought up. The neighborhood is clean and safe, "great for children" according to him. That point almost made the con side win until she found out the neighbor was a 76 year old woman with only a tiny schnauzer to keep her company. Children don't ever seem to make the cut on any of Grace's lists. Old women who stick to themselves do, "doodie poos" and all.
The house was great, life was moving forward and that's when everything changed. Grace no longer need to touch someone to see or feel something. If the event or emotion was strong enough, she could be within a few feet of someone and a vision could happen. Being in a crowded place can be very overwhelming and the first time Grace realized it was happening she was in a parking lot about to go into the grocery store when she saw the woman in the car next to her burying her husband. They were both pretty young and it feels pretty recent so the grief is strong. Strong enough to make Grace's stomach churn as if she hadn't eaten in days much like the widow. Her eyes began to sting like she had been crying for hours on end. But the numbness, that was the scary part. It felt like nothing and everything horrible all at once. She felt the dirt slipping through her fingers and heard the sound it made when it hit the top of the casket. When it was over Grace's hands were sweaty and her face was filled with tears.
What the hell was that?! I didn't even touch her. I barely looked at her as I pulled in. No. NO! NO!
Grace could not have imagined six months ago that she would be voluntarily going to a crowded coffee shop on a Saturday morning. That first incident left her confused, scared and in the doctor's office much more than she'd like to be. She had always assumed there was some sort of explanation for why she was the way she was. She sometimes imagined that when she touched someone a tiny electrical current crossed over and that was how she could see and feel their lives. Any near scientific explanation for what was happening felt like a step closer to understanding. Now it feels like nothing makes sense anymore. Dr. Williamson thinks its important for Grace to maintain as much of a normal lifestyle as possible, including going to places with crowds. She has never been bombarded with more than one vision at a time, but that's one of Grace's biggest fears. She's afraid now that she can't prevent the visions by not touching anyone, that there is no stopping everyone's past from flooding in all at once. Just imagining that makes Grace feel like there's no hope for any kind of normal life anymore. The only thing she can hope for now is a great iced latte at Tucci's and an Amazon sale on blackout curtains. Free shipping would be great too.
© Meagan Beavers, 2018. All rights reserved.