Two friends meet for lunch, a weekly, sometimes bi-weekly occurrence. Selene, the lanky senator’s aide with sienna hair, props her chin on her hands. She gazes at Curtis, who grips his fork so tightly as though it would disappear if he loosened his hold the tiniest amount. Selene exhales, Curtis looks up at her.
“Why do you always want to see me when you’re in a bad mood and need to deliver a soliloquy about all the injustice or minor inconvenience the universe has tossed on you?”
“I suppose it’s because you always know how to make me feel better–you certainly don’t make me feel worse. Just being near you makes me feel better.”
“Hmmm, so it’s like popping a couple of Advils and the headache goes away. Or a table spoon of cough syrup. A whiff of smelling salts. Don’t you want to see me when you’re in a good mood too? Or no particular mood at all?”
“I don’t understand.”
“I want to see you when you’re not looking to ‘feel better’. I don’t want to just be medicine to you. Can’t I be a vitamin and make you feel good when you already feel good? Or water? Something you need to live…and would want no matter how great or lousy a day you’re having.”
Would you consider yourself more often than not to be the medicine, the vitamin, or water? Do people seek out your company and your attention because they want to feel better? Because you make them feel better? And, if they didn’t need to feel better, days, weeks, and months could go by before you got to hear their voice or lay eyes on them?
Do people seek your time and attention when they want to have a good time? Not because they need a frown to be turned upside down, but just to have a few laughs, to goof off or act a little crazy? But, if they wanted to have a serious conversation or needed to focus on more important things, you’d be the last person they’d think of to contact?
Do people want an audience with you regardless of their state of mind or being? Cheery or cranky, lethargic or furious, indifferent or fervent, your conversation and energy are frequently requested?
If you’re medicine, would you like to be a vitamin for a change? If you’re a vitamin, would you like to experience being water? If you find yourself in the role of water, would you fancy a week or month as medicine or vitamin because you’re stretching yourself too thin? Maybe you’d like to save some of your energy for yourself?
Or, do you accept whatever part you play, whatever function you serve and embrace any opportunity for an upgrade or downgrade…as determined by those other people? Because…at the end of the episode, the epic poem, someone else is in better spirits on account of having talked to you, held you, heard your voice, and breathed the same air as you.
‘Tis better to be the source of alleviation than of anxiety.