Looking at Lizard I felt rather sad and irrationally, somewhat guilty, as if I were to blame personally for what had befallen his ancestors. He rolled back onto his feet and, looking up at me, said “Your turn”.
As ever in situations like this, when someone is so direct, my mind goes blank. Stumbling around for words I began.
“I don’t have much of a story to tell, this journey feels like the beginning of my real story. My parents were of the old stock in that their attitudes and behaviour towards children were severe, quite harsh even – I understand that these were a product of their time, but nevertheless it didn’t feel so good.”
“From a very young age I created other worlds to inhabit as I found this one too difficult I suppose, or not to my liking – I’m not really sure which it was. I didn’t understand people I think, never knew what it was that was expected of me or who I was supposed to be, so I became a kind of chameleon”.
Lizard smiled at this, as did I, realising our connection.
“I learned to second-guess, to be what I thought others wanted me to be. It is very odd living like that, now I think about it, it’s as if living outside your own skin. So it has been for most of my life. When the call came from Mamushek telling me I had been chosen to take this journey I was overjoyed – I couldn’t believe my luck! I don’t think I was conscious, until that moment, of just how much I wanted, needed this.”
“So …. Here I am, this is me – not much of a story is it? My childhood memories are very patchy, mere snapshots are all I have in my mind. As for my ancestors, well, I know very little indeed so my history is short – of the moment you could say.”
“Hmmmm…Interesting”, says Lizard, “seems to me you may have travelled a great deal already”.
“Eh?” – I didn’t understand.
There it was, that smile again, “No matter,” he says, “we shall set off once the mid-day sun has settled down”.
“I need to speak to Willow. I now know I need to listen to Willow”. A voice from somewhere is speaking to me.
“I don’t want this to be your story, I want it to be mine. You are trying to take my story away from me and I don’t want that. Let me tell my story in my own way without your interference, without your ‘knowledge’ – I am the explorer here, so let me be just that! Stop trying to foretell what will happen, dictate who I shall meet, where I will go – let me be – I have been waiting a long time, let me tell MY story! Let my story unfold as it will – stop planning. It will happen in its own way. Just stop please – let me have my head and we can enjoy this journey together.”
“And if I do? I worry about what will happen to you”.
“You don’t need to worry any more – I no longer need protection. Once upon a time I did, but not any more, those days are long gone and you know it. Set me free – I can do this”.
“May I watch over you?”
“You have no choice – of course you will watch over me – but please understand that there is a major, major difference between ‘watching over’ and what you see as ‘protection’. The protection I needed once has become a prison, do you understand that?”
“Yes I do, I am sad about that”.
Deep sighs. “See that is what I am talking about – this isn’t about you!”
“Alright, I shall try to do as you ask. I may fall into old habits though, so please be patient”.
Someone nods, “I understand”.
I must have fallen asleep again. Lizard was scratching at my hand to waken me. He looked up at me smiling, “Time to go now” he said.
My mind was still in the dream – who was that?? It was such a clear encounter it felt so real. I didn’t have time, though, to sit and ponder on it as Lizard was making it very clear that ‘now’ meant now.
Gathering my things, I scrambled to my feet and followed. Lizard was scurrying as Lizards do, but in, what I can only describe as, ambling mode.
The sun was still shining brightly and the air was incredibly clear, making breathing such a pleasurable experience. I have the distinct feeling that my journey has begun, at last, in earnest.