I looked at them both and asked simply, “What do you want me to do here?” I had reached an impasse with my writing. Specifically, writing this book. I had imagined how it would go, and up to this point, it had played well. I was eager to see how it ended. At this moment, however, I was given pause. Somehow, something seemed different. I was different. Everything was different. I stared out over the red rocks of Sedona. I paused as my gaze rested upon Cathedral Rock. My mind briefly revisited the past five years, the many hikes up that rock, and all I accomplished within myself. I shifted back and looked at the two of them sitting there.
I sat there and watched them. Like two peas in a pod, yet they couldn’t be more different. I met her first, the seven-year-old, my heart. She surfaced about five years ago during my first trip to Sedona. We had spent a good bit of time together. She has a spontaneity and zest for life. She is quite sensitive and can be timid and shy. She doesn’t like to be the center of attention. She is happiest when she is playing and laughing. In this moment, she is animated, fidgety, and a bundle of silly energy, much like you would expect from a happy little girl on a warm summer day. The older one, the ten-year-old, we had just met. She was definitely more serious as you would expect the ego, the protector to-be. In that same moment, she seemed a bit distracted and yet quite focused at the same time. She was more contemplative and deliberate in her thoughts and quite cautious in her acts. She always had been. While there was a softening in her that I had just recently noticed, she stood firm in her conviction, believing in herself most of all.
She looked at her hands and considered. I could see her big blue eyes in deep, deep thought. When we first met, one of the things she revealed to me was that her hands had been tied her whole life. She was unable to move. She felt helpless, confused, afraid, and alone. She couldn’t tell me which emotion she felt more than others. She felt them all the same, and to the greatest degree one could ever imagine.
She is quite bright. She can be a bit bossy. She looked up and said, “You have to tell the story the way I want you to. No matter how you think you wanted to tell it, now, you have to tell it this way. Now that you know what I know, you have to tell it.” Her tone was confident, stoic, and adamant.
I glanced at the seven-year-old to hear what my heart had to say. She half-shrugged her shoulders and said, “Let her do it her way, you know it’s what she wants. I’m okay with it too. Just tell it, please, so we can go play. And I get to pick the swing I want first today because she got to go first last time.”
I smiled and considered what they said. My eyes went to the older one. I had only known her distinctly for about ten weeks, and yet she had always lived within me. She was the strength, courage, and fight that had carried me through my life. Together, we had sustained horrors beyond imagination. Yet, a choice was made that she would be the one to carry those memories in the deepest levels of my subconscious, the darkest corners of my soul. She took it upon herself to keep these memories blocked out and blacked out. She did this to protect me. She did this to protect the heart, the seven-year-old. In doing so, she had carried a burden within her far greater than any ten-year-old should ever have to bear. A burden far greater than any human being should ever have to experience. One night in late March 2014 she let go, and she let me remember. She unchained us from decades of confusion and darkness. She unhinged our memories in a way that almost instantly made our life make complete and total sense for the first time in nearly forty years. She set us free. Now, it’s time for me to do the same for her.
I asked her if she was afraid and she said, “Yes, aren’t you?” I nodded, yes. She stared at me intently and I could see the tears in her courageous, determined eyes.
I nodded and said, “Okay, we’ll tell it your way.” I glanced over at the younger one, growing impatient by the minute, and anxious to get things going. I asked the older one, “Should we let her go first?” She heaved a heavy sigh, and said, “Yes, she should go first, she was first.” I considered them both. I watched the seven-year-old sit up in her chair as she prepared to share her story. The ten-year-old sat back with an ever-watchful eye over that sweet, tender heart. My heartbeat with the bubbly energetic magic of that seven-year-old and my ego held firmly in the grasp of that ten-year-old. And I carried both delicately and definitively as I sat in front of my laptop and continued writing our story.