It’s late, almost day four. I imagine it will likely be day four before I finish writing tonight. I returned some time ago, with food, which Amber ate eagerly. She was thrilled by the lack of responsibility and relished the opportunity to consume. She chattered a bit when I first arrived but became calm as darkness fell. She has accepted this cave as her home. Almost too readily, she wants to ‘settle in.’ I watch her as she shares stories and makes plans. She doesn’t understand this is not the end of our journey but just the beginning. This cave will not be her final home. I will delve deeper into the cave tonight, and the two of us will soon move forward together.
After she shares all she can imagine, she finally surrenders to sleep. Her sleep is calm and warm, and beautiful. Her face is gentle, void of any anxiety. Like a small child, secure in her environment, she completely relaxes. She has forgotten the one pursuing her and who she was in response to him. Probably for the first time in a long time, she rests. She truly rests.
I allow her to slip further into the empty spaces of her mind. Then, I quietly rise from my position and move deeper into the cave. As I pass by her, I feel the other one begin to pace, waiting. She knows I am coming. Her senses are so heightened she can nearly see my movement. I sense hers as well. She has a staggering amount of fear, and I know this makes her extremely dangerous.
In my mind’s eye, I can see the dwelling where she resides. It is preceded by a short passageway from the main cavern at the front of the cave. Once inside, it opens to a large chamber. There are ledges and crevices throughout the space that remind me of the artificial lion dens created in zoos. There is a long ledge to the right of the cavern. It is open and almost perfectly level. To the left, there is a chaotic heap of large rocks. The rocks present more places to hide and look as though they go deep into the mountainside, creating a womblike place of safety.
I am beginning to understand; through this journey, I am delving deeper into Amber’s mind, to the places she didn’t readily share. Through the recesses of this cave, I am getting to know her to help her. As I look upon the chamber, it seems she always retreats to the left. I make a mental note to see if the idea of moving to the left repeats as our journey moves forward.
I work my way down the passage. I can see her pacing, jumping from one location to the other, in a consistent, repetitive pattern, like any trapped animal will do when faced with intense anxiety. As I creep nearer the entrance to her lair, I sense she has lived in this space for some time. She has become accustomed to complete isolation here. I can tell the only time she interacts with others is when she peers into the world through Amber’s eyes. She never fully represents herself to others, retreating when the world’s pressure becomes too much for her.
As she paces, she maintains a low crouch, always prepared to spring forward and defend her territory. Her hair is a tangled mane around a scuffed and dirty face. Her eyes are wild and menacing. She is the raw emotion of a manic mind. She represents what is left when you remove the peaceful, loving Amber from the illness. This chaos is her sickness. It is not a cool, collected character from a James Bond movie. It is a wild, anxious animal, cornered in its own darkness. This is who I must guide to the other side, this unpredictable, raw emotion.
I continue to move forward carefully and quietly. I do not want to startle her. However, I do not want her to be too prepared for my appearance either. All she has is her sense of where I am. I must not give her the ability to be sure, so I move without noise until I stand at the entrance. Every step I make is critical, and my final approach is slow and deliberate. While well prepared by Spirit for this meeting, I must move into the actual communion alone. I must listen carefully and focus. If I do my job well tonight, tomorrow Amber will remember, and while she remembers, she will remain peaceful. This agitation in her mind will no longer be a factor.
I pray for success as I step to the cavern’s entrance. Now, I am close. It is time. I speak to the one deep in the cave. “Amber? I know you’re back here. Can I talk to you for a minute, sweetheart?” I shift my tone to one speaking to a willful child. I release any fear I held. She must not sense it.
The pacing continues inside.
Looking down, I see a plate in my hand, and with it, I understand how to continue. “I brought you some dinner, Amber. I thought you might be hungry.”
The pacing stops. She sniffs the air. Unlike the earlier meals of fruits and bread, this one is meat, rare roast beef. The aroma fills the cave, and she loses track of her agitation. She has forgotten I am the enemy. She is still not trusting. She is not capable of trust. She is volatile and unpredictable, but the food has distracted her. She is very hungry.
I approach the entrance, and she backs away to a place of security behind one of the boulders. Then, she freezes. She does not resume her pacing. Instead, she will disappear.
I do not breach the doorway, not yet. I stop, and I say, “Would you like something to eat? I don’t mean any harm. I just want to talk to you.” I have no idea of what I will say when we talk, but this is what comes to me now. I have faith I will figure it out as I go.
She is still not ready to communicate with me, but she is so hungry. She would like to have the food without speaking but doesn’t know how to accomplish it—too many thoughts race through her mind. The hunger is nearly unbearable and does not aid her in her ability to think. Like Amber, she cannot bring her many ideas into one rational train of thought.
I begin to speak again. “I know what you did to the real Amber,” I say. I do not know I will say these words before they come. I can’t possibly know her well enough to estimate her thoughts. Spirit knows this wounded child. Spirit knows the words to which she will respond. Spirit knows what to say, and I must simply let the words of Spirit flow through me if I am to impact her.
I continue, uninterrupted, “It doesn’t matter. I still want to help you. Wouldn’t you like to be out of this place, free to roam?” I speak each word slowly, letting them penetrate her. Her manic mind will bring her to numerous assumptions regarding what my words might mean. I will not let her follow any thought to resolution but will keep her off balance. I cannot let her regain her footing. I must bring her to a place of vulnerability if she is to let me in.