I feel so lonely. I don't want to be special anymore. I just want to be a normal 18 year old girl. Why me? Why did this happen to me? I'm not sure I'm strong enough to go on like this, I'm not sure I can live this lonely life much longer.
I'm not sure my life was ever normal, I think it started normal but something happened along the way somehow. I mean I had a father, mother and grandmother and we lived a simple existence in a little house in the middle of a forest. I suppose that's pretty normal isn't it? My parents, well they were quiet by nature, some would say a little unsociable, a little introverted even, neither having much to say to each other, let alone me, for that matter. But I can't complain, I always had 3 meals a day, clothes to keep me warm and a grandmother that made up the lack of communication between us all. I was cared for, I had a family to love, I shouldn't be asking for anything more. We just lived each day like any other day. Isn't that what everyone else in the world did? Surely I wasn't that different.
I did my chores, spent my days doing what I knew, sometimes learning new things but most days just usual run of the mill things, like every other teenager, and no-one special. But what I didn't know up until now, up until this very day, is that each one of my family members had a distinct lesson to teach me, to prepare me for when I became an adult, which happen to be today. Yep, today was my 18th birthday. And here I sit at the breakfast table looking around at the people who raised me. I'm thinking this is what life is about surely. You get taught, you learn, you take your lessons and leave the nest eventually passing on life lessons to the next generations to come, isn't that how it goes? Why is this not feeling like that's going to happen with me? I look over to my father, sometimes with just one look he can reassure me that it will be ok. I smile as I think about this man sitting opposite me.
My father, well he taught me about hunting and gathering, surviving on very little for a long time. He taught me about making a shelter out of only what nature has to offer. He showed me how to kill only to survive, eating only for substance and not for pleasure. To respect every aspect of nature, to never assume it will be good, to always prepare for the worst. Depressing I know and a tough lesson to learn. But I didn't complain, I knuckled down and did what I was told. He taught me the way of the woods and I've always felt a kindred spirit when I'm amongst it all. Of course that doesn't stop me dreaming of ice-cream, wishing and hoping one day I can sit like a normal girl in an ice-cream parlour enjoying a few minutes, just me and ice-cream, reassuring myself that yes I'm just a normal teenager for goodness sake.
Fortunately for him, the time I spent with my father required little speech on his behalf, this being his normal self it didn't seem to trouble him but some days jeez I wished it was different. But apparently what he wanted to teach me required silence, patience and cunningness, at times, three things I thought were a total waste of time. I glance over at him and smile, he very rarely returned any facial expression towards me, ever to only reassure me, but today he smiles back at me. Best birthday present ever I think to myself. I then look at my mother who has sat down next to my father.
My mother taught me more homely chores, things I surely didn't need to survive, I definitely haven't had to thread a needle so far, and seeing I have no house of my own, quite frankly daily chores seem so wasted, they do however fill the time. One thing she did teach me but was to make sure I knew how to fix a broken bone or wrap a wound, she showed me plants in the forest that can heal and some that would kill. She showed me how to cover my tracks and stay undetected, and also how to stay quiet, which was one of the hardest lessons growing up. My mother was a very quietly spoken meek sort of woman, not overly affectionate, it almost seemed like she wasn't allowed to get too close to me when I think about it. Often I would catch her looking at me, the softness in her eyes let me know she cared, but she always stood back out of sight, she blended, and she didn't realise that has become one of the greatest lesson for me out of all.
I also always wondered if she liked living as isolated as we had and if she ever dreamt of ice-cream too. Life on land must've been hard on a woman, with modern conveniences non existent. But she never complains, well not in front of me, actually maybe she does like living out here away from society, at least she doesn't have to put up with nosy neighbours or random people knocking on the door. Me, personally would love to see a stranger once in a while. I only got to chat to my grandmothers good friend who ran the little convenience store at the end of the road, and even then it was limited. I smile at my mother knowing she will give me her special grin, the one that tells me she'll love me no matter what.
I feel my hand being squeezed, turning towards my sweet old grandmother, the person that's taught me the most. She taught me how to read and write for a start, which I'll assume most grandmothers do. That's pretty normal isn't it? She showed me how to love and respect all life just like all grandmothers do, right? She also always spoke about her life, past history, she made me listen and absorb things from not only her life but many others. Important things, interesting stories full of adventures, giving me hope that one day I'll have the chance for a life like hers. She also told me that the past will always affect the future. I thought this was just a normal conversation between a grandchild and a elder, only now I'm realising the past will change everything I've ever known.
What was different about my relationship with my grandmother though was she also made me aware of why I was special. You see my parents tended to avoid discussing my gift but my grandmother continually spoke about it to me. She never verbally spoke out loud about it but, she always seemed suspicious of her surroundings, yep, strangely, even out here in the middle of the thick forest she thought someone was listening. So my grandma used to invade my dreams while I slept peacefully at night.
This, for a long time frightened me. I always had so many questions when I woke after speaking to her in my dream but seem to never have enough time for all the answers. I desperately needed to know about me, what I was and how was I suppose to use this power for only good and protect myself from the bad. Good? Bad? what in the hell. I'd been kept away from society, not knowing who was what and now I feel more confused than ever. She told me I would know the second I met someone whether they are good or evil, and to always be prepared for the worst.
She explained to me that I was one of the good hearted spirits that roamed the earth and the power I possess is mine and mine alone. I should never consider giving it away but am able to share it with others. Of course being a typical teenager I didn't want to be this special girl. I want to give it away, let someone else worry about it. But apparently I'm the chosen one and I have to just suck it up. Further to telling me this she went on to tell me no-one, good nor evil can ever take it from me, it can only be offered or given by me. Bad hearted spirits will try and just take it, force me to hand it over. And if ever they succeed in taking it all from me, I'll be left to die a painful death. Apparently, these evil beings don't care or respect life, they're lives are based on greed and selfishness. And they are my enemy. Just great I think to myself.
Now I had to not only work out exactly how to use the power I possess, and how I utilise it for good but how I keep it safe from evil also. I really hope there are other people in this world that I'll cross paths with in the future or it's going to be a very very lonely long existence.
But enough thinking about it all, I'm determined to stop thinking about it and enjoy the day, after all it was my birthday. But by lunchtime the day just didn't feel normal, my father and mother had been hovering and anxious, not doing they're usual chores and continually watching me. I tried to act normal when I joined them for lunch but it seemed like they wanted to tell me something, unusual right? Very rarely was there a conversation around the table between this family. I sit down and my grandmother picks up my hand once again, smiling at me. Definitely something strange going on. I look at her, hearing her talking to me without her mouth opening and closing, her eyes intently watching mine. Wait, I wasn't even asleep and she's invading my mind. I listen to her because I know she has something serious to say to me. 'Your ready for your right of passage journey Mila, our special sweet girl. Our job here is complete now, you've grown into the woman we've all hoped and prayed for'. Wait on a sec, what does she mean, a journey, and what job is she talking about? I look over at my parents who have also been intently watching me, I even see a tear run down my mothers cheek. I wonder if she heard my grandmother too.
"What does that mean" I said out loud. My grandmother just squeezes my hand like she always does when she wasn't going to say anymore. All I can think is that I definitely come from a dysfunctional family and do I worry about what comes next today.
Don't get me wrong, I knew we were different right from the start, especially me. I felt it everyday. I never felt settled in this life, I always felt like I was just passing thru, always wishing for more. I blame being a teenager, that's all, I'm not different from any other anxious teen girl working out her life. Surely every girl feels like there father and mother are only watching over them, being included but never deeply connected to their lives. Now I'm wondering just how wrong I may of been. Now I'm thinking, it feels like it was just their duty, their job to raise me, teach me as much as possible then throw me out in the big wild world. Now I'm understanding a little bit more.
Isn't that how most 18 year old kids feel but? Hooray, suddenly I'm feeling absolutely normal. Let's face it, I shouldn't complain, a lot probably have no skills and surviving would be a real task. My whole life had been one big training field and I'm thinking I'm going to find out real soon just how much I've learnt. And I think I'm suddenly going to be alone in the world finally, and now feeling a sudden dread.
But I know Grandma would never want me to feel alone. I don't even have a friend to talk to about this. She had told me most humans didn't understand that I was special hence the reason for our restricted contact with the outside world but seriously not being amongst it seemed like just another obstacle I had to overcome. She told me to have little trust for most humans, it's safer than giving anyone too much trust and giving them access to harm me. When I asked her how'd I know she always told me I just would. Not surprising, she also admitted to me recently that I'm actually not related to my parents or her sadly. Deep down I think I already knew this. I was a talker a communicator, chatterbox even, always had been, I mean I must've inherited this from someone in my family, surely? Who am I related to then? Is this journey to find out? Who is going to answer my questions? Another squeeze of my hand from grandma let me know to shut up for a second which I obeyed, eating our lunch in silence as usual but feeling sad about it also.
Finally, after lunch the strangest thing happened. My father called me in to living area where my mother and grandmother stood waiting. My father pulled me to his body and kissed me on the top of my head then turned and handed me a huge backpack. I was gobsmacked. He had never showed any affection towards me and honestly I didn't expect anything for my birthday so this backpack full of the essential necessities was better than nothing and well, isn't it every 18 year old girls dream to have one of these when you just find out your out on your own? While I checked out all the things in my pack, my mother got my attention. She too pulled me close to her body, but I could feel her sadness so much more. She put her hand up to my face and didn't need to say a word, I already knew what she felt. She then handed me another package, this one was full of food, stuff that was non-perishable, food that would last quite a while, making me a little worried about exactly what was happening here. Just how long am I on this journey?
Then my father who was standing next to my mother spoke softly to me. "Don't come back until the at least the next full moon" he said. "Stay up high and out of sight" my mother said after him. But that would be in a months time I thought. And up high...means in mountains or trees? They want me gone for that long? I could see the sorrow in they're eyes but didn't know what to say. "I love you both" I finally sputter out, reluctantly turning away from them before I cry and knowing I probably won't get told it in return but looking like I'm waiting for it. I hurriedly walk out, feeling just a little angry about it all, but more sad than anything. It seemed like this was all a game, that they would call me back saying 'only joking' but it never happened. So, then all I could think was what had I done to deserve being sent to fend on my own in the wilderness? And feeling slightly confused.
But luckily my Grandmother followed me outside. Suddenly and strangely, I was weirdly a little excited about heading off alone, honestly, this had been a rather surreal day. So, this is what's it like getting kicked out of home. I mean I didn't feel frightened or scared about living in the forest, something I had lived so closely in all these years, but I'm going to miss my family. I feel my Grandmother soft hand hold mine, stopping me then her warm arms wrapping around me, pulling me close to her. Finally words actually left her mouth, with no mind invasion this time. "Keep walking away from here, get as far as you can, and don't look back" she whispers to me, her voice cracking a little. "But before you go Mila, I want to give you something of mine" she said quietly into my ear. I try to pull away from her in protest, I didn't want her to give me anything she owned, I was sure that would mean not seeing her again but she was a strong old woman and manages to squeeze me closer to her body, "hold me tight Mila" is the last thing I hear. I want to close my eyes but need to see what's happening.
Suddenly a beautiful blue aura weaves it way around the both of us, invading my body, literally thru every pore in my skin. Now I want to close my eyes suddenly feeling a little apprehensive about what was happening. But I can't close them even if I chose to. The light around us was something else, I hadn't ever seen such brightness before, this brightest light shone from all around us. There was no other colour, no green of the trees or blue in the sky nothing from a second ago, just vivid white. I couldn't fight it anymore, my head falling back, my eyes closing, my body feeling an overwhelming tingle, an invasion from head to toe.
Strangely I felt drained but also weirdly energised, I felt like I was so brave and could face anything on my own. Then, slowly we swirled around, my hearing was acute, the sound of magnetic air sizzling between my grandma and I, the over-whelming feeling of lightness, like I was floating like a feather in a breeze. Then the energising bubble we were both in starting lifting both our bodies up into the air. All I could hear was my Grandmother chanting something, some of the sentences I could probably recite, but not the whole thing. Sadly, and without me knowing it this would be the last time I feel my grandmother hold me, the last time I hear her sweet whispers, the last time I'll feel safe.
When I snapped out of the trance I opened my eyes to find my Grandmother's hand gently holding my face up. She looked at my eyes and I could see she had accomplished whatever she had done. "This next month you'll be alone to practice and learn how to use everything I have given to you. I hate that you will be alone but I trust you will remember everything we have taught you. You are a kind, brave special spirit Mila and remember, I will always be there in your dreams sweet girl" she said before turning and walking back into the house. I wanted to protest, I didn't want to walk away but I knew I had to go. It was like a force was making me turn and walk away. I took one more look at my parents who had watched the whole thing, they both gave me a reluctant little wave then they too turned and closed the door. This was it then, my journey begins. I'm just wondering how I'll manage the next month all alone.