thankle: word invention

Sitting in a waiting room across from someone I love. Shauna Cassidy was not looking at me. Her eyes were downcast, her hands akimbo, legs twitching. In my mind I was sending waves of empathy to her. Could she feel them? Did she sense them? Was her depression deflecting them onto the other people in the room?

Shauna was called into the counsellor. Was I the only one who felt the room grow warmer and lighter? The burden I had been carrying since Shauna asked me to bring her and why, lifted. The fog clearing so the room became less like a tunnel and more like a warren. There were many ways for Shauna to go from this point, the options opening up as she opened her mouth to the listening ears of the counsellor.

A text beeped its way into my consciousness. “Thankle for those thoughts, blessings, Elise xxx [{}]”

Thankle, what a word. Does it exist? I imagine the writer of wordlives, sitting with “thankle” on their desk. It would have to be handwritten, copperplate, and the person, androgynous. I can only see their hands, chubby and uncalloused, no rings. A thankle, what would it look like – A Christmas bauble shining like a star against the artificial lights on the tree, rainbows and fireworks. Full of promise but hollow on the inside.


The counsellor waves me in and I join them in the incense, jasmine I think, filled room, with empty new-age panpipes and I think of a thankle. Shauna is staying, she has filled the forms, she is full of hope and promises, but strangely with thankless in my head I think of all the empty promises, all the hot air,  Aristotle’s discussion of the alazôn comes floating into my mind: ‘the boaster is regarded as one who pretends to have distinguished qualities which he possesses either not at all or to a lesser degree than he pretends…exaggerating’

I smile, I hug, I wave goodbye. I leave.

There is much to be done, children to be foistered on unsuspecting relatives, a shrivelled, cirrhotic husband to be told, a community to kept at bay. My life to be centered not on panpipe philosophy, not on incense filled sessions and not at the bottom of a heroic Chardonnay. Breathing in and breathing out I sent waves of loves and empathy towards the building of empty promises, beware of the thankle.

I texted Elise telling her about word invention and arranging to meet for lunch. Elise in her need and me in my want of company, away from drugs and alcohol. Our lives were entwined by community, I wondered what Elise needed me for but that’s another tale.

What is in your head, little one?

Why so very, very sad?

Let me hold you

be with you today

Do you know I love you?

Do you know I care?

Prayer of love on you, baby,

wave of empathy send


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