Out of the fog came the mysterious shape-shifter.
He looked at me and his cornflower blue eyes stared into mine and knew my soul. I felt the shiver of his knowing me as if I'd been unwrapped and bared to all the world.
Then with a baleful smile, he turned and disappeared back into the mists beckoning me to follow.
Mesmerised and completely, idiotically, unaware, I stepped into those mists and found myself completely alone. Sometimes a hand, his hand, would appear out of the clouds to beckon me to follow in this direction or that. But, mostly I had to fumble about and find my way on all fours, crawling along the damp, muddy ground trying desperately to find his trail. I couldn't keep up with him.
I found a small mossy, cairn and clung to it, exhausted and isolated in the swirling white, wet fog. The mists cleared a little and there was the soft warmth of gentle sunshine around me.
He came and looked at me again and burned his eyes into the very core of my being. He knew me but would not touch me. I felt safety in him but he was impossible to know and to reach. He was always just enough out of my reach that I could not cling to him and let him lead me out of the mists that surrounded the cairn - and me. It seemed he needed me to find my own way out.
Resentment and hurt welled up in my chest and I screamed. The air mollified the sound from my throat and made it seem like an angry shriek rather than the painful ache I was feeling.
Then he spoke to me in a voice that sounded like it belonged before time itself. I realised he'd been speaking to me all along, encouraging me and cajoling me to keep searching for my true direction, but I had not heard him for the cacophany of fear inside my head whilst I was groping for safety in that white sea of air.
He asked me if I knew the Truth. I said I did. He said to prove it! I tried and failed. I did not know the Truth at all. He said you have to believe that you can part the mists and see a clear path ahead of you. It's just "There". It is available. But I couldn't and I wouldn't believe him. How can one part mists with Belief? He asked me what I believed and I told him I believed in the impossible which would never be possible. He told me as gently as he could that I merely wished and did not allow for my wishes to become true.
I sat down beside the cairn I'd been clinging and crying into and felt his words sink into my heart like pebbles.
If what I wanted to escape the mists and see him clearly then why did I not merely wish and believe that it was possible?
It's a scientific fact that mists cannot be willed into submission, I told myself. I cannot will mists to defy the laws of nature. I can wish for all I'm worth but I will be disappointed always because that's the nature of the world I live in!
He smiled and said "It's not my world" and I looked at him and he turned and parted the mists with a sweep of his hand and I could see the path laid out bare as clear as if sunlight dripped from every blade of grass and stone.
"Where do you want to go?" He asked me gently.
"Where does that path go?" I asked back with admiration and hope.
He smiled yet again but with a sadness in his eyes. "If you cannot see what you want to see at the end of that path Mia, you will never discover your truth". With that he turned and left me alone again and the mists swirled back across the path he'd made visible and I was again left alone and gasping for clarity and focus.
I wanted to follow him. Desperately, I lurched into the soupy clouds and stumbled and fell, not knowing which direction was which except down. I crawled again along the ground, shedding skin and bleeding from my body and my heart at the futility and stupidity of it all.
I could hear his voice saying "I'm here Mia" but I could not tell where it was coming from and how far away he was. It was overwhelming. I felt completely alone despite his calling and encouragements. There didn't seem to be any point in continuing. I couldn't find myself out of the mists at all. They enveloped me as well as any prison. I refused to accept that merely wishing for them to go away was possible. I had no magic in me. Not like him! He was all magic and light, direction and unassailable wisdom. I wanted all of it - what he had but did not once believe I could ever come close to what he offered.
I stood up and willed myself to believe that I could part the mists and see a clear path ahead. But as I passed my hand across the soupy opaque wall of cloud, I felt ridiculous and inert. The mist stayed as solid as it ever did. I did not believe I could shift it as much as I wished it so.
Suddenly he was there in front of me again. He looked at me as if I were a child and shook his head at me with the deepest love written all over his magical face.
"You need to simply believe you are worthy of what you wish for Mia. Find it in your heart to accept things as they are and then reach for what you think is not possible. Open yourself to the wonders of having that right here and now. It's already in your hand dear one. Just believe it is true for you".
I didn't understand. I couldn't grasp how to do what he asked of me. Nothing wished for is EVER possible surely? Wishes are for fairy tales and dreams! They're not reality. This fog is reality. I am stuck in this fog and I am lost and alone and lonely and afraid! That is reality. How does believing in mere wishes make that change? I shall be disappointed for sure!
The thoughts tumbled from my lips like a waterfall and he simply shook his head and turned yet again to disappear into the mist. "We'll try one more time shall we?" he said as his back retreated and disappeared.
"NO!" I screamed at him. I did not want to be left alone again. I needed him to give me hope and security and to show me how he did that trick of making the mists part like that. I couldn't do it but I knew he was capable of anything and I wanted him close at my side so I would be safe and secure.
Silence like a blanket enshrouded me. His voice was gone and I could not hear him calling to me. I was truly alone. Either I had to believe in what I really wanted or I was doomed to crawl along the soggy ground for an age square ten.
A tiny desire rolled into my heart like a seed. I observed it and noted it. It was small but it was strong and full of life. I let the seed germinate and sprout. With all my courage I stood and summoned that desire to burst forth into a fully grown bush alive with promise in its leaves.
I want to be free.
I tested this wish to see if I truly knew that it was what I wanted and what I believed I would have in this moment.
I passed my hand across the mists and the beginnings of a path opened up before me. The sunshine seemed to be smiling as I stepped onto it. I was still alone but now I could move forward.
The man in the mists eluded me even so. I could not hear his voice and nor would he appear again to me. I believed he wouldn't so I asked for another seed to roll into my heart. On that seed, I wished that I might know that man again and with a certainty I did not know was in me before, I believed that I would.
And it was so.