Chapter 13 - Silence is Golden
It was a typically warm Friday night in San Diego. Across town the Padres were losing another game, people were putting their kids to bed, and the bars were jumping. The breeze from the bay was cooling things down while the warmth from the concrete worked to keep the temperature moderate – just a normal September’s eve in the city.
Robin sat on the front porch with a glass of iced Jasmine tea. From here, he could see the whole city laid out before him. Nancy was sitting on the glider knitting something or other. She was always knitting. “It relaxes me,” she had told him. “It gets my mind concentrating on something other than the voices.”
Oh yes, the voices. They were still there buzzing away. He had more control over them now, he could quiet them down to a dull hum, but they were still there.
It’s like living in a hive of bees, he thought.
He understood now, though. They weren’t bees. They were the thoughts of a million people, all of which were residents of this town. He still couldn’t understand any of them, but they were persistent – whatever they might be trying to say to him.
I’d answer you if I could understand you, he thought. Especially if you’d just take turns! One at a time, please. I guess they never learned how rude it is to all speak at once.
He began clearing his mind. His breathing became slower and rhythmic. He concentrated on the buzz. He pictured a hornet’s nest in his mind with bees buzzing all around it. Slowly, he began to imagine the hive moving away from him. Gently, ever so gently, he pushed the angry hive away. The buzzing diminished in volume. The farther away he pushed it, the less buzz he heard.
He imagined a large oak door standing open in a wall. Still concentrating he pushed the hive though the door. It hung in the air outside. Slowly he shut the door and the buzzing stopped.
“How did you do that?” Nancy asked excitedly.
“What do you mean?”
“You silenced the buzz. I have never been able to silence the buzz.”
He looked at his mentor. She was looking at him in awe. She meant it. He had accomplished something special.
“I just followed your instructions as always….” He trailed off, uncertain what to say.
“But you closed the door. I have never been able to close the door. In fact I don’t know of anyone who has done that.”
“I don’t know how…” he began apologetically.
“No. Don’t get me wrong. I think it’s marvelous. It confirms my original feelings about you and your future,” she said admiringly. “I’m very fortunate to be here at this time and this place to witness it.” She smiled and went happily back to her knitting. It seemed to Robin that her needles were clicking a little more gleefully – if that were possible.
He looked out over the city. For the first time in a year, he was finally alone. No bees droning about his brain stem. He could actually hear crickets again – or was that a cicada? No matter, all that counted was that he didn’t have that infernal din to put up with. Why couldn’t I close that damn door before this? It wasn’t for the lack of trying. Every day, since he had learned the beehive trick he had tried. Today, it shut easily, as though he had been doing it all his life.
What did I do that was different this time? Sometimes, I am so thick I…A commercial jet on the way to Lindbergh field interrupted his mental chastisement.
“Don’t be so hard on yourself,” Nancy’s voice was soothing. “I’m the one who told you it was impossible to close the door.”
“At least I know I can do it now, even if I don’t know how I did it,” he replied.
“The trick is,” she continued, “Will you be able to open it up again when you need to.”
He stared at her in shock. “Why would I ever want to open that door again?”
“So you can know the truth when it’s spoken,” she replied simply.
He gave her a blank stare.
“You may not have been able to understand the words, but you could understand the meaning,” she added.
He furrowed his brow. Just what is she on about?
Nancy put her knitting down, looked at him over the top of her glasses and continued, “At this point and time, you still can’t understand what is being said. You haven’t learned how to pick out one voice and hear what it has to say, but you do feel the emotions behind it. You understand subliminally what the voices are alluding to. That is the intuitive part of Intuitive Art,” she looked at him as a teacher would who was waiting for an answer from her wayward pupil.
“Are you trying to tell me that I need the voices?”
“Precisely,” she nodded and went back to clacking her knitting needles.
And I thought I was crazy, he thought.
“You’re not crazy, dear. You’re a psychic.”
“That’s close enough for the psychiatrists,” he shot back. “Besides, what if I don’t want to be psychic? What if I lock that door and never open it again?” He was hoping she would take the bait, but she just sat knitting her whatchamacallit in silence. Robin looked out over the city. He could see the bay lit up by the city lights.
“You know I didn’t really mean that part about locking the door, right?”
Clickety-click, Clickety-click; They sat in silence for a while with only the sound of Nancy’s knitting needles and the local insect population could be heard.
What a wonderful evening, he thought. Robin took a deep breath and leaned back into the Queen Liliuokalani chair he was sitting in. He looked over at Nancy knitting on the glider. He noticed something that made him sit up again.
“Hello, Amanda,” he said.
Nancy put her knitting down. In a low voice she gently asked, “Where is she?”
Sitting on your left…
Nancy looked at the empty seat next to her, “I wish I could see you, Amanda Potts, but I can’t. That part of me is a little rusty. I can feel your presence though. I know you can hear me. I’m sorry I let you down all those years ago. I hope you can forgive me. I know that you are real now and I’d like to help you if I can.”
She paused, waiting for an answer, but she didn’t hear one. Robin sensed her dilemma and said, “She says, ‘it’s okay.’ She spoke to her parents when they passed over. She doesn’t need any help now.”
Nancy looked puzzled, “Then why are you still here?”
Robin looked surprised; “Really?” he chuckled.
Nancy looked at him and said, “What’s the matter?”
“Nothing, it’s just that she says she’s no longer just a spirit. She’s been promoted, so to speak, to being your Guardian Angel.”
“Well, I’ll be…,” she said in wonder. It was then that she heard the faint sound of childish laughter. Nancy concentrated her eyes on the empty seat next to her. She could see a smoky shape beginning to take the form of a little girl in pigtails. A tear welled up in her eye as she watched her childhood friend materialize by her side.
“Hello, Amanda Panda,” she said affectionately.
“Hello, Fancy Pantsy,” Amanda Potts replied.
“It’s nice to see you again after all these years. I’m very sorry…”
“Don’t be sorry,” Amanda interrupted. “It’s not your fault. The living have to live. We are not your responsibility. Besides, my problems were resolved many years ago.” She smiled.
“You don’t talk like a seven year old,” said Robin.
She giggled and said, “I’m not seven. I haven’t been seven in centuries. I use this apparition because it is the one that Nancy is familiar with and because I like it.”
“How old are you?” he asked.
“I’ve already told you more than I should have. I can’t tell you more.”
“No answer to the old, ‘what is the meaning of life?’ Or ‘what is God really like?’”
Amanda laughed. “You’re so funny, Robin. It’s one of the reasons I like you.”
“Thanks,” he said sarcastically.
“Amanda,” said Nancy. “Now that we’ve found you out, so to speak, are you going to have to leave us?”
“Not yet. I just can’t tell you things that you aren’t ready to hear or understand.”
“Like the meaning of life?” said Robin jokingly.
“Yes,” She giggled again and disappeared.
“She sure has a way of coming and going, doesn’t she?” said Robin.
“Yes, and it explains a few things as well.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well there are times when I get the urge to get on a swing or ride the kiddy rides at Disneyland. People tend to look suspiciously at a woman of my age doing those things alone.”
“Hey! I get those urges myself. You don’t suppose I… Nah… not likely.”
“It’ll be nice to have a child around the house again,” said Nancy as she picked up her knitting.
“Yeah,” said Robin. “Everybody should have a seven thousand year old kid around the house.”
“You’re forgetting your parables, Robin.”
“About entering the Kingdom of Heaven as a child?” She smiled at him impishly over the top of her glasses.
He looked at her for a few seconds and said, “Oh yeah…. that one.”
Robin leaned back in his chair and shut his eyes.
A year ago I would have run screaming into the night seeing someone like Amanda Potts. Now I act like it’s “normal” to talk to dead people – excuse me: spirits – Guardian Angels or otherwise.
“At least she answered one of your profound questions plaguing mankind for thousands of years.”
He opened his eyes and looked at Nancy, “Really? Which one?”
“The one about Guardian Angels,” she chuckled.
“Oh,” He closed his eyes again. He sat contemplating that last statement for several minutes.
He finally opened his eyes and broke the silence, “When do you think I will be ready to take on a real case?”
“Soon, after you develop your psychometric abilities more.”
He sat up. “I think I’m ready now. I get readings from everything I touch. It’s kind of fun. Some of the objects show me very clear pictures of where they’ve been, who owned them, and in some cases, where the owners are now. In fact, I even get addresses and phone numbers a lot of the time.”
“I found a bicycle the other day and was able to return it to the house where the kid that owned it lived. He was really happy to get it back. Some bully stole it from him at school just to be a jerk. The best part was that I even knew the bully’s name and address. Boy was he shocked when his parents got a call about it.”
“Returning a bicycle is a lot different than helping the police find a child that may have been kidnapped and murdered in a horrible way. Don’t forget you also have the ability to see pictures. Do you think you’re ready to see something like that?”
Robin thought for a moment.
“I don’t know. How do you do it?”
“I won’t lie to you. It is an enormous strain on me. My heart breaks for the parents and for the victim. You can’t get used to it, but you can learn to push the emotions away temporarily – at least long enough to see the important details you need to tell the police. Afterward, I’m an emotional wreck. Some of the things I’ve seen years ago still haunt me today. However, it does give me some consolation knowing I found the person that did the despicable act.”
“Well, I won’t know how I will react until I try. I have to try, otherwise, why do I have my gifts? I don’t think I was meant to just be a lost and found for inanimate objects.”
“You’ll get your chance soon enough. One of these days someone will call us with a case for you.”
“How do I choose one? How will I know which one suits me and my gifts?”
“You don’t choose the case, my dear, it chooses you.”
Robin stared at the little old lady sitting across the way from him.
“I may be little, young man, but never call me old,” she said firmly.
Robin went back to staring at the lights of the city.
Living with a psychic isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
“You can say that again,” she said pulling on the ball of yarn. “But it’s better than the Dumpster.”
You can say that again. Thank God for Nancy.