Boxes of her childhood lay next to her in a line, neatly stuffed and organized to the max. She knelt on her knees next to each one as she went down the line and worked on securing the tops shut.
Her partner and family were nearby. They were frustrated she had taken so long. She seemed mightily unfazed by this though, and kept to her work as if it were a design, a pattern; she knew there was a method behind her madness, and all the timing would work out perfectly.
Her name was Mandy.
She was an artist, a writer too, struggling to find her way in the world. She loved her craft but too often became distracted and felt blindsided by the ways of this world. But here and now, this was the time – it finally seemed as though her culmination of efforts had achieved her a time – when it was all coming together. She focused on the task at hand and fastened her boxes, keeping her head down, but filled with pride and knowingness that this – was the time she’d been waiting for.
Later she lay on the floor face-to-face with her partner. They touched foreheads, curled toward each other. He seemed to be happy she knew him so well, and at once he asked her if she knew what he was thinking; she gave him the answer without being concerned with this psychic ability of hers, and without hesitation. His whole body filled with the sensation of thrill. She got up, and moved away to do something else.
She remembered a dream she’d had recently. She was standing in an open space somewhere, next to a fantastic, intriguing-looking house, which just so happened to be the brightest, most brilliant shade of turquoise she’d ever seen. The whole house. Turquoise. Next to her had been her Healer, a woman with short dark twists of hair and white clothing, an older woman with immense strength and calm, and so much history. They were both looking at the house from the outside when she’d turned to Regina and said, “I want to be a ghost writer.” At this point she’d woken herself up, barely, but enough to know what had just happened: she’d spoken what she wanted for herself for the first time, something she’d not even done in the waking world. She’d taken note, feeling excitement and fascination, then let herself descend back into dreamworld. As they stood facing each other in Mandy’s dream, outside next to the turquoise house, it was Mandy’s intention to convince Regina to let her story be told, and to let Mandy be the one to tell it. When she’d woken she’d thought about the turquoise again…. why was it so bright? And why that color?
Later her partner walked into the room and suddenly, she was terrified by his face. Had she mixed up realities? She wondered. Instead of himself, he looked like an older, disguised version of someone she used to know, an old partner. She was confused and didn’t trust this person in her present reality, and wondered if she was being fooled or taken advantage of. Had it been him the whole time? Had he been tricking her somehow? He saw the look on her face and tried to console her. It was difficult; she pushed him away and didn’t want to believe his words and couldn’t shake the similarities when she looked at his face.
“I’m not him,” he said. Gently but sternly trying to convince her. She was feeling betrayal, mixed with fear. Mandy wondered why she hadn’t seen it sooner. “I’m not him,” he said again.
Eventually, there was a second that broke through the fog and she realized he wasn’t lying. At once, she threw herself into his arms, apologetic and grateful, and he hugged her back. She cried the tears not only of relief for having her partner back, but also for knowing she’d just let go of the first person who’d ever terrified her: he had showed up in illusion form — dug out from a part of her that was deep and hidden — allowing her to finally fully expel him. He seemed a memory old as time, but, Mandy thought, if she was starting over she might as well start cleansing from the beginning. And so it all made sense. She held her lover, grateful she didn’t live in the past any more.
• • •