Johann Bock had a gift. From the time he was a tow-headed boy with spindly legs he had spread love like a crop duster, lifting the spirits of everyone he met. Sometimes all it took was a gentle glance and some well-placed words. Other times a tight hug and motivational speech. It all depended on the level of emotional quagmire.
He had a knack for spotting hidden misery. The worst cases kept their sadness tucked in their hearts, disguised with bright smiles and false words. On trains, in shops and in the street he hailed them down. It was all about energy. His energy, he knew, was bright gold and white. Untainted with browns and blacks. Seeing these blights and holes in the auras of depressed people, he filled and cauterized them.
Johann rarely looked in the mirror. If he had, he would have seen a gaunt man with wispy grey hair that stood up in a quiff, like an exclamation mark. His green eyes wide set and knowing, his mouth poised in an almost smile.
At dawn yoga practice, as he twisted into a half Lord of the Fishes pose, he glimpsed a woman on the other side of the room. Her aura was platinum silver with flashes of orange. Cropped brown hair and burnished skin. She was the most complete person he had ever seen. Flawless and radiating wellbeing. He almost tipped over as he craned his head.
After class he stood at the door and waited. The smoke from sandalwood incense caught in his throat. She emerged with a shimmer of perspiration on her forehead. As they locked eyes, something taut in him broke, something held tight, released.
She examined him with astute blue eyes. ‘I’m Nuala. What’s your name?’
‘Johann. You have a beautiful aura.’
‘Thank you. Yours is a little depleted. Do you do a lot of energy work?’
‘I’ve spent my whole life fixing every single broken person I see. You could say it’s my mission. These classes are my only gift to myself.’
‘Well, that must change. I would say physically, you’re about five years older than you should be. Spiritually, you have been blessed with an abundance of light and goodwill. But it must be replenished.’
‘How do I replenish it?’
‘Meditation, time in nature, love. I mean, what do you do when you’re not fixing people?’
‘I look after my rescue terrier cross, I phone my sick mother, I sometimes remember to eat.’
Nuala took Johann to the fishpond at the park. They sat on an iron bench. Koi weaved and flitted through weed, sunlight flashed on the surface.
‘Hold my hand,’ she said.
He obeyed. Her fingers were cool and smooth. A prickle at his crown, then energy coursed through him like water. It was as if she were activating every cell in him, as if the blood was travelling to every nerve. A lightness and a sense of being more than alive. The sun warmed his back and birds chirruped in the trees behind.
‘You’ve healed me.’ he said, wide-eyed.
‘Merely assisted a natural process. May I do one more thing?’
She leant towards him and covered his lips with hers. He inhaled vanilla and cardamom as one hand rested in the small of her back, the other in her hair.
‘We’re not finished, are we?’
She traced his palm. ‘No. There’s always more. It’s a lifelong journey. Healer, heal thyself. Have you heard this?’
‘I’m going to help you become whole again, so you can continue helping others. At the same time, I’m going to love you. How does that sound?’
‘Like heaven.’ He kissed her and saw orange and platinum behind his eyelids.