I never hit the bottom – as I reached it, I remained hoovering. Steep cliffs were surrounding me. I could see the sky above me, but there was no way to reach it. The air was stifled but it didn’t bother me. I was mist and mists do not breathe. There was a light breeze of less stifled air coming from one of the cliffs. I let it take me into a small crack in the cliff. This crack was few meters deep and it ended in a spacious room.
It was obviously a cave and there was a lake too. Oh, I was here the night I was attacked. I just never paid the attention to the details. Water in the lake isn’t water at all. It is some sort of dense silver liquid. On a ceiling of the cave there is one spot from which this fluid drips slowly. I hoovered over the lake to the place where those drops touch lake’s surface. Waves they were forming were calming me. All my attempts of catching a drop before it reaches the lake failed. Not having a body is rather restrictive.
“I see you are back.”
Familiar voice snapped me out of focusing silver drops. She entered the room carrying a towel, a razor and a wooden bowl.
“How do you know it’s me?”
She stopped paying attention to me and sat on the floor so she could dip her legs into the lake. I came closer to her.
“Where did you get razor?”
She stuck her forefinger in the bowl and was mixing it by her finger. Every now and then she would raise her finger in the air to see the paste fall from her finger. Each time she did that, I could notice paste is getting thicker and thicker. She pulled her left leg out of the lake and started to apply a paste to her lower leg by her fingers.
“If you wanted me to hear you, you would need to take a human form.”
As she was washing her fingers in the lake, I was thinking about her words. Can I really decide when to change into a human? And if yes, how do I conduct this transformation? She took razor in her right hand and pressed its blade on her skin. Half way up the knee she stopped and washed off hairs from the razor in a lake. As soon as hairs touched the lake, fluid biodegraded it. My first thought was – BLJAK! My second thought was – BLJAK again. This lake kind of lost on its charm when I saw this.
“Dive little girl!”
“Are you talking to me? I am a grown woman you know.”
I closed my imaginary eyes and relaxed my imaginary muscles, even took a few imaginary breaths. I turned into violet dust first and then gravity did the rest. Lake accepted those tiny pieces of me and spit out a woman with a body. All bruises were gone, no scars, no pain.
“Good! I just finished one leg. Come, help me shave the other.”
I got out of the lake using the stairs. Cave was warm so it took some time until I realized I have no clothes. I looked for something to put on. She noticed it.
“Finish my leg and you will get what you seek for.”
I sat in Turkish style in front of her and put her right foot on my legs. I applied the paste. Her leg was smooth to the eye but under my fingers I could feel some hairs.
“Where did you get razor?”
“I brought it with me.”
“Why? I mean, from where?”
“From the store. I too need to shave my legs.”
“Why didn’t you do it in a mud bath?”
“Because it cannot be done that way.”
“I did it. In a mud bath near the village.”
“Because my hair grew.”
“Why is that bad? I mean, small children never shave their legs.”
“Small children don’t have thick hairs and common sense of what’s decent and what’s not didn’t reach them yet.”
“So you are doing it because someone else expects you to do it?”
“Unshaven legs are not appetizing and once one gets used to smoothness, it is hard to stop.”
“So you find men’s unshaven legs unattractive?”
“I never said that. I do not care about hairs on men’s body.”
“But you care about hairs on your body because somebody wont find them appetizing. And that somebody doesn’t even have a name. It is hidden behind common sense of what’s decent and what’s not.”
“When you put it that way, I seem like a brainless idiot. You shave your legs too.”
“You noticed huh?”
I finished shaving her leg. She washed it in a lake and allowed me to dry it with a towel. She got up and brought me night gown made of white silk, torn so its length is above the knees. I put it on and gave her my hand on her demand. She took me to the mirror in the other room. I looked exactly like that woman that turned into mist.
“Is this me?”
“Yes, all this is you.”
“Am I dead, did that werewolf kill me?”
“A part of you is, the rest of you isn’t.”
I had enough of my reflection in the mirror. I wanted to turn away. She put her hands on my waist and forced me to stand in front of the mirror. I was looking at her reflection in the mirror as I continued to talk to her.
“How can that be?”
“Whenever we get hurt, a piece of us dies. It is what we decide to do with the surviving part of us that matters.”
“I saw that werewolf. He killed the whole me.”
“No, he killed only the part of you he had access to.”
“Why did he hurt me?”
“It is hard to tell why people hurt each other let alone werewolves. I already told you, he didn’t hurt the whole you.”
“Are you telling me I am not that woman? She is only a part of me?”
“She is lost, scared and fragile part of you and you are strong, independent, skilled part of her.”
“She couldn’t see me in the forest. She passed through me. I tried to but I couldn’t communicate with her. How could I hear the echo of her words in my head?”
“Those were your words. The werewolf got what he wanted, a weak part of you but he lost what he desired – your strength and independence.”
“At least she is not wandering the darkness anymore.”
“Oh but she is, she will come there occasionally until you resolve the problem.”
“Her problem…really…why was she there in the first place?”
“Her problem is your problem. She doesn’t know what drove her there. She only knows how it feels to be there. You have to figure out how to get her out of there. If you do your job, she will spend less and less time in the dark part of the forest.”
“When I solve the problem, I will be allowed to leave the island and take her with me?”
“Remember those two ways in which you can leave the island? Well, you disappeared for your village the moment you rushed into the jungle on the sound of your weak part. You appeared on the island at the moment you became aware of the problem that needs to be resolved. By that time, a weak part of you was wandering the forest for quite some time. You correctly concluded she has been starving and not using the logic. She was sleeping under the sun rays and seeking salvation during the night.”
“Under the sun she felt alive right? She was gathering strength for the times when she cannot find the sun and preparing to what comes at night.”
“Yes, her own spring of resources dried up. All she could produce for herself were her tears and the darkness in which she was staggering. She couldn’t find the sun within her so she used the sun that was breaching through the trees.”
“So this is why I felt much safer in a sunny part of the forest! I had unlimited resources of sun’s warmth.”
“That is not sun you silly, that is spring of warmth from within you. While you were following the weak part of you, it was cold right? But it wasn’t completely dark and you weren’t afraid. You could see her, you could analyse her behavior, your logic and analytical skills were at its best. Your instinct about werewolf was correct. Your instincts about following her and trying to help her were correct too. You are everything she needs. You only need to figure out how to solve the issue that is keeping her in the forest.”
“But I don’t even know what the issue is let alone how to handle it!”
“Then you will have to stay by her side until she shows you what needs to change.”
“We cannot communicate so it might take a long time until I figure it out. She might suffer much more than she already did.”
“Yes, but this time she will have you. You are aware of the situation and you will learn how to guide her and share some of your inner resources with her. When you resolve the problem, the two of you will become one. If there is no problem to solve, you two are not needed on the island so you will leave it by jumping off a cliff.”
“But that will kill us!”
“No, that will kill images of the two of you in your imagination. You will continue to exist in a real life as a part of the real you.”
“And what if I get attacked while following her? Just like I was attacked the night I came here for the first time? Who will help me?”
“That night I asked you why did you do it, remember?”
“Yes, and that night, just like now, I did not know what is the meaning of that question.”
“Remember that amusing video about people and the mirrors?”
“Yes I do. A small group of people decided not to look in the mirror at all for some period of time. Maybe two weeks, I don’t remember. One of them had a booger on his/her face and wasn’t aware of it while walking in public. It was awkward and funny but yes, it made me think.”
“Do you remember that woman?”
I lowered my voice. The thought of the woman made me sad.
“I remember her. She was going to the gym and used to watch herself in the mirror while doing her workout. As a part of experiment, she stopped doing that. She worked out there but she wasn’t looking at her reflection in the mirror. She cried while sharing her thoughts about it. It turned out she was constantly disdaining herself. Even while working out in the mirror she saw a fat ugly person and she kept calling herself that. I truly didn’t see any of the things she said about herself. She was hurting herself more than anyone else in her life. No one else made any negative comment about her looks. When she stopped looking herself in the mirror, she stopped judging herself and started to feel more confident and more attractive.”
She let go of my waist and allowed me to move away from the mirror.
“See, it wasn’t a grass, a rock, locks of your hair nor the bear that attacked you. Those were just manifestations of the weapon you use to inflict pain to yourself. The worst enemy of a strong part in a human being is him or herself. Negative comments you make in your mind about the way you look, think, feel, behave, succeed, fail, live, love, breathe, react, fail to react…this is all you hurting yourself.”
She took my hand and went for a walk with me.
“So the lake has no healing properties, werewolves attack weak part of me and I myself attack the strong part of me?”
She pat me on my head.
“You are a smart little girl indeed.”
“I am a grown up.”
“Not here, not with me.”
“Who are you?”
“Oh, I am just a part of you whose assignment is to keep memories of things that happened and as such I am the wisest and the oldest one here.”
“You are the one that holds a key to the memory of my father and my brother?”
“Yes, I know about the feeling of being abandoned by your father and a feeling of happiness and dread of the future after your brother’s bachelor’s party. But you are still here, alive, and you have the access to all of the happy memories, you are the one that chooses which memories you will visit more often than others.”
“Do you remember that little girl that made the island?”
“Yes, I remember her. She made the island so all the problems in her life can be settled here as she becomes aware of it. Here, this is the moment I let you go.”
We were at the entrance of the cave. Behind my waterfalls.
“Where is she now?”
She started pushing me out gently.
“Oh she is still around, sometimes running free or swimming in the ocean.”
“She never left the island?”
I could barely discern her words as the water was pouring on my head.
“Few times a year her weak side gets lost in the dark but the rest of the time she stays here to enjoy – this is her island after all.”
I swam to the lake bank and shook most the water off, like a dog. My hair was still a bit wet. It will dry in the sun. My leather skirt and top were waiting for me there next to my knife. My fox was dragging the spear to complete my weapons collection. I took off that night gown, put on my warrior clothes, climbed up the hill and ran into the dark part of the forest. My lady should be here somewhere.