Chapter 5- A Scorpio in the Fish tank

Empath was cordially called angry bird among the first of the students she taught early in her career. The girls had nicknamed her so because they had found her to be incredibly intimidating, which was quite the standard she wanted to set. Approachable and assisting only those who dared to take the first step towards her. One of the reasons she had opted for this profession and not any other because

a) it suited her married life, she could be home by noon and take care of her son and

b) Teaching was like being on stage, your listeners were the audience, spectators with twinkling eyes if you knew how to capture their attention.

Deep down the dancer, the actress hidden within empath got very few chances to be on stage, in the limelight, in her preteen years at school. So, somewhere this was a way of channelling all that talent in front of a classroom with keen listeners, about topics vast and colourful, history and politics, society and culture, people and behaviours. She had a different vibe when she batted her eyelashes explaining and drawing an imaginary picture of the countrys past events persuading them to see what she saw, feel what she felt, it was like she became alive and so did the twenty eight girls she taught back then.

No fever or flu kept her away from her job every morning at 7:45am, it was a little getaway from her domestic issues and homemaker life. Not that she didn adore her husband and her 2 year old son, they were perfect in every way, a complete copy of one another, she felt as an outsider, sometimes she laughed with hubster it was almost as if he had carried Baby S for nine months, the kid lived for and loved his dad overwhelmingly. Empath sometimes got jealous but only lightheartedly and secretly prayed for a daughter too, someone who could be her mirror image like Baby S was hubsters, it would be so much fun and would complete their picture perfect family too. Wouldn it?

Empath didn really understand her super powers until small signs became evident. Perhaps one of the earliest memories she had was one afternoon she sat on the bed breastfeeding S while talking to hubster on the phone. Left Handed as she was, she had him sucking her left nipple with her left arm under eight months old S cradling him and the right hand fingers holding her boob to facilitate the newly teething infant and just then suddenly, her phone dropped right on the baby in her lap and hit him on his ear and cheek. The baby gave a squeal and started to cry. Uptil then Empath was generally in a pleasant mood, but the moment she heard the squeal, something shifted in her. Out of nowhere tears welled up in her eyes she could actually feel the pain the baby felt. For anyone who saw that must have praised her motherly heart and love but she knew the tears were different, almost as if her cheek was slammed with the phone.

There were obviously a number of such incidents, they came and went in passing and she seldom gave much thought to them. She always found it coincidental that she knew exactly what a particular member in the house wanted to hear from her, wanted her to bring to them, was thinking about her. Over time she realised if she listened hard enough she could almost sense what a particular person was thinking.

But before she discovered details about her potential, she had a daughter. The few months after her birth was the most disastrous for her mental health (something she didn even know existed and needed tending to) and her marital bliss.

As it turned out, she was overjoyed when her doctor told her she had delivered a baby girl M, but the first shock came from her oh-so-perfect hubster, who was deep down convinced that baby S has a little brother on the way. Empath, engrossed in her happiness, ignored the fact that hubster didn bring sweets to celebrate the arrival of the little one to the hospital, or the fact that she didn see him the 1st thing when she opened her eyes, that he didn sleep in the same room with her on the first night she returned home from the hospital. She was prepared for the post partum depression, she had had some REAL baby blues after giving birth to baby S, but this hit differently.

For starters, baby M was nothing like baby S. She demanded attention, feed, cuddles and drained Empath completely from any sort of liberty and thus began a phase of struggling due to lack of sleep, patience, and any domestic help. On the other hand, there were things in abundance, like emotional and physical unavailability of hubster, absence of quality time for baby S or herself. Slowly Empath was sinking in a pit that would swallow her entirely she felt. The endless hours of late night drove her sleepless and irritated, feeling unloved, unwanted, bloated, ugly and of course, the little super power she had, began to give her clear indicator reasons why hubster would be glued to his phone or unavailable emotionally, his priorities lay elsewhere or rather, with someone else.

Empath got wild impulses to check his call log. It was magical how random numbers made a code in her head and after a few tries she was able to get through his password and check what she wanted to. Ofcourse, he never saw this coming and was furious when she showed him proof of his late night calls to some colleague who wasn even half Empaths competition, not in looks, not in intellect nor in class. He hid his guilt in anger and lashed out on her, accusing her of invasion of privacy. Soon they had loud fights and their bedroom couldn contain the tension between them. It spat out in front of their immediate family who rushed to patch up their differences but infidelity was unthought of for Empath.

She just could NOT accept the fact that her picture perfect family dream had come so near to a total collapse. She wouldn in a million years be able to tell her parents or siblings about it, hubster was such a sweetheart in their eyes too by then, no one would believe her, more than that she felt disgusted, for being wronged, for him turning out to be like any other man, who got bored of his pregnant wife and decided that the grass was greener elsewhere.

It was her utmost faith and love for him that he had broken and she would make him pay. She knew she would, the lizard in her had just been woken up and at 25 she made a choice, she would not be a defeated teary eyed cast aside wife. She would reclaim her dignity, her financial independence and the sense of achievement that came with two adorable children, her son and daughter. If she could survive childbirth twice without any epidural she could survive anything.

Thats when she had returned to the classroom, leaving behind a 4 year old and 5 month old, Empath decided she needed to get away from the house everyday for a few hours, so she could feel worthwhile, so her mental sanity could stay intact, so she could develop herself, for the sake of saving her relationship, for the sake of again falling and staying in love with the man she had assumed God-like. That man was a mere mortal, unlike her expectations, he was a wrongdoer, like any other man, an infidel, a disappointment. But she was mature enough to compensate for the loving father he had become to her two children. She couldn be selfish enough to rob them of their doting dad. She could be cruel but not unfair, and dividing the custody would be brutally unfair for the young children so separation was out of the picture and divorce was something unimaginable!

So survival meant, sleeping next to this person every night that she had outgrown to love, to want, to cuddle in and most importantly, to respect. She wished her hubster had the powers she had, so he could hear her thoughts, listen to her silent screams and late night cries in the pillow. But the hardest lessons are learnt over time. Attachments are hingy things, and one can just merely pull themselves away from them, at times one is stuck and despite repeated tries, remains stuck and theres no pulling away without ripping. Empaths heart had ripped once, patched and ripped again in a few months time. Baby M was almost one and a half years old and baby S over 5 years. At twenty six, Empath already felt like an old woman. Until a fateful message on Facebook hit her inbox at around 9 am on the 26th of July.

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