Back in the day, elision could only ever spend so much time with me, for multiple reasons. Some were easy to accept, some were a challenge for me, but there was only one that made me feel nothing but bad: he told me that after we were together for a while, he felt totally drained.
I found this horrifying. I loved him (still do, damn it), and I wanted to spend time with him, see him and talk to him. I GAINED energy from interacting with him. So, if I was gaining energy and he was losing it, it seemed to me that I must be taking it. I told him I felt like some sort of energy vampire; that is one of the many things I told him to which he had no response, ever, and so for me, that interpretation has always stood.
It never occurred to me to ask anyone else for another interpretation of this.
Last weekend I was talking with laughingimp, and I came to this topic - how, I could not say - and I could feel myself wilt into sadness as I faced again this thought, that I will, all unawares, eat bits of my loved ones and never give back.
When I looked across the table at him, though, he had a thoughtful expression, a formulating look. Then he opened his mouth and set me free.
"You aren't an energy vampire. I've known an energy vampire, someone who just walked into a room and the whole energy level would go 'shoom'," he said, making a two-handed powering-down sort of gesture.
He said that it's true that I'm tiring, but it's more like I'm on the high setting all the time - that I'm just moving faster than everyone else, and that they have to break into a run just to keep up with me, and running eventually tires everybody out.
I said I didn't understand it, that I don't feel like I'm moving so fast.
He said of course you don't, because it's normal for you.
I don't know if that's so. I don't know how I can feel static so much of the time and yet be so intense for others to handle. And yet, there is something happening, because clearly, spending time with me requires at least some people to move to a higher output level than they normally use. It might just be that I go into some kind of weird hyperdrive when I am in the presence of somebody with whom I am in love, or even just in SERIOUS like.
True or not, what I know for certain is that I can't remember the last time I felt so much better after being told something that simple.