“It’s not a bad thing to be sensitive.”
She says as she steals a glance at the clock

I wonder if she’s ever stayed up all night clutching her gut,
birthing a fruit of terrible thought.

“It’s not a bad thing to be sensitive. It makes you more empathic.”
She’s talking faster now, trying to fit her conclusion in the two minutes we have left.

“You notice things other people don’t notice.”
Like that she’s trying to wrap up this appointment and move on.

“You can feel how other people are feeling and that’s a good thing.”
She emphasizes the words “good” and “thing” like that will make me believe it.

“But it also means you feel things more than most people and it can be hard not to get caught up in it.”

She shifts in her seat. I start to gather my purse. Together we rise.
I try to field questions about dates for our next appointment while I mentally sort out a way to ask her how I’ll make it until next week.

I want to tell her it’s not worth it. Reading people has no benefit for me.
I want more details about how it’s good. Will she help me start a superhero syndicate of empaths?
I want to know how to ignore the looks, the pursed lips, the sharp tones in a multitude of disapproving voices.
I want an end to nights of knees pulled to my racing chest, rocking back and forth to sooth the explosion brewing in my belly, breathing out the anxiety that just comes back.
I want her to tell me how to make it stop.

But she’s already turned towards the door. She’s giving me a farewell smile. She’s telling me it’s time to leave now, but she hasn’t said a word.

I know there’s more she’s saying.

It will come to me tonight when I lie down to worry.