Picture, if you will, an outdoor café on a quiet street in the early morning. Three friends sit around a small table enjoying coffee, croissants, and conversation. Mozart symphonies play and sparrows hop around, collecting fallen crumbs. It is in such an atmosphere where we, The Ancient One, Michael, and I, find ourselves. Of course, where we are, there are no cafes and the music of angels replaces Mozart’s.
Like movements in a sonata, our conversation moves to serious tones.
“You know she’s going to comply with her young mother’s words, believing that only submission will achieve longed-for connection.” Michael’s voice falls flat.
The Ancient One nods, “Yes, I know.” His voice drifts through the air like the deep notes of a cello. The loss weighs heavy.
Michael’s voice rises in frustration. “An infant in need of attachment, who speaks the language of touch. A young mother, unaware of consequences, desiring to raise her daughter well-disciplined, acts from fears that holding the infant will spoil her. So the infant is left wanting.” His words resonate with sadness. “And the infant will trade her voice for the approval of her mother. “
The Ancient One stands and begins pacing. “A master manipulator.” His voice crescendos, “The deceiver weaves a web of confusion, using people’s needs and desires against them.” He stops and looks at Michael. “And the words,” he pauses. “If humanity only understood the power unleashed in what seem like benign words.” He begins pacing again. “The deceiver will use the mother’s words, distort the message to the infant, and the tender-hearted child will believe that silence and compliance are the only way to love and belonging.” He sits with a thump.
The sun rose over the calm sea as the boat drifted toward the shore. Peter jumped out with the tie-rope in hand and secured it. Tired and worn from the night-long battle with a storm the rest of them got out of the boat and followed him to the bank. Their legs dragged, sloshing the water.
Their weariness was abruptly interrupted by a piercing shriek. A madman from the nearby tombs ran screaming and flailing his arms towards them. As he rushed at them they slowly backed away. All but One, who took a few more steps and stopped, waiting.