Soothing the Green Dragon (A Girl's Guide to Overcoming Jealousy & Making Unlikely Friends)
It was an act.
I learned how to act-
The one time I forgot myself and let the world in, I ran away--
I kept trying, but I might be... sensitive?
Echo met Leigh through Victor.
While she had been at PFFest, Victor had been at another event…
When she saw him post about going to a camping festival the following weekend, she immediately texted him. She had the tent, sleeping bag, gear… This was what she had always wanted him to come do with her!
He repeatedly stated that he probably would not sleep over, but she brought everything… and as they gathered the gear onto a parking shuttle, a gorgeous petite blonde jumped out the back door.
“Hey, Leigh,” Victor smiled.
“Victor, hey!” the blonde smiled back.
Echo paused in loading things. Victor gazed between the two women, “This is… my friend, Echo.”
Echo extended her hand, “Echo.”
The blonde's dainty angelic hand embraced Echo’s long piano fingers, “Leigh.”
"We met last weekend, "Victor explained, then waving farewell, “Well, see you in there.”
As they took their seats, her mind was doing mental gymnastics; Don’t think. Don’t imagine. Don’t question… Then she heard herself speak, “Am I your friend?”
Victor looked at her to read her face.
She was smiling.
He smiled back, “I knew it the moment I said it. Friend isn’t the right word… I don’t know what is.” Throughout the crowded bus-ride, he held her close to nuzzle for the first time since he had picked her up.
...Back at the campsite, the two raised the tent as a team. Echo beamed with pride at how well they executed the directions… When everything had been put inside, and they found themselves alone again finally; Victor stopped for a moment. He took her in his arms and really kissed her.
Tears streamed down Echo’s cheeks.
He pulled her away to look her in the eye, “You know I can’t resist you.”
Echo smiled, “Mhmm… I just- missed you.” She curled around his neck and pressed the sorrow out with her tears. A burst of emotion enveloped the tent, and she felt a bubble of warm affection form around them that lasted throughout the night. The burst had only been seconds, maybe a couple minutes; then she found a handkerchief in her pocket and wiped her tears. She spent a moment in her corner of the tent, insuring the essentials were in her bag; phone, money, lighter, lip gloss. Then she grabbed her water bottle and waited for Victor to ask-
“You ready?” He extended his hand.
“Yup!” Echo smiled, taking the help up to her feet. There was something so soothing about holding his hand.
She remembered what he told her on one of their first dates, “I have this dream of us where I’m a big rock, and you’re a kite. You’re flying in the air, and I’m the only thing keeping you from floating off into space.”
Somehow this image had not alarmed her in the least. Rather, it comforted her. “Yes,” she admitted, “That’s me.”
RUN. This was the advice she had given every guy… When a fly had wandered into her web, she urged them with all eight legs, RUN.
Now… after so much drama, could she talk him out of her spells? Could she make him understand her intentions? She thought she had spoken plainly, but she could see he felt distrustful. He was handling an attempted murderer, and the woman he had loved so much was already dead.
…On the dance door that night, Echo’s friends were throughout the crowd. This was the one place on Earth where she could introduce Victor to everyone, the circus.
When Leigh was nearby, Echo felt her green dragon recoil with fear, but she smiled and danced. The two chatted between songs to learn Leigh was a massage therapist and Reiki practitioner. They exchanged numbers.
“We’re going to trade services,” she explained to Victor. “Being a Reiki Master is amazing! I’m going to get a massage!”
Victor seemed pleased to not see Echo’s green dragon emerging from its lair. On the contrary, he seemed intrigued at how quickly Echo had turned an awkward situation into an advantageous one.
…………………………..Echo was not living with Victor when she asked to use his place for her Reiki share. He was leaving for a rehearsal, “You know, I have to admit, it’s pretty hot to think of the two of you here, touching each other.”
Echo laughed at him, “You know it isn’t like that. I give you Reiki.”
“I know… Still,” he grinned.
“I’ll see you later. If she’s still here when you’re finished, we can all hang out,” Echo kissed him goodbye.
………………...Leigh admitted that she was not confident in her practice yet, but she obliged to give first. Even afterwards, she stated Echo needn’t take the time to reciprocate immediately, but Echo insisted.
Afterwards, the two sat on the couch, drinking tea.
Leigh revealed that she was going through a lot of self-discovery. She had just begun finding others like herself who spoke to angels and did body-energy work. She was feeling her quest for love take form...
Echo did not interrogate her. She brushed aside fears that Victor may have hoped to run into Leigh at the festival, without Echo. She revealed details of the recent diagnosis, her musical journey, and Ayahuasca experience; but inside her mind… as Echo listened, she also went to the cave in her heart. There she kneeled and gently soothed the green dragon. See, she isn’t so scary. She’s really very beautiful and kind. She drove a long way to share Reiki with us.
At the conclusion of their long talk, Echo gave Leigh the small metal token engraved with the word “love” that Ryan, a tarot reader, had given her at the Ayahuasca retreat. “He told me, it’s just something he found on the street when he was really working to define that word. Then he understood, he had to keep giving it away. He told me, when I was ready, I would too. So, I knew someone was coming for it, and I’m so happy it’s you.”
Leigh put it in her purse and gave Echo a big hug, “Come see me, anytime.”
Victor did not get home until Leigh had gone.
……………………………Echo made more than one long trip to the small town where Leigh lived. Leigh gave her a massage once, without even letting Echo touch her. “I’m sorry, something came up for later tonight. There isn’t enough time,” Leigh smiled.
Recalling how Leigh had said she often has difficulty accepting payment from friends, Echo took two twenties out of her purse, “It is not as much as your work is worth, but it is what I have. Thank you!”
…………Another time, the two did no energy or bodywork at all. They enjoyed an evening of soap making with Leigh’s roommate, Meadow and several other lady friends of theirs. Everyone took turns stirring the soap, pouring it into molds. Meadow took the duty of creating concoctions of dried herbs and oils as they solidified.
Then the group gathered on the floor with discarded window panes, hot glue guns, and colorful beads; making simple stained-glass windows. Echo was delighted to show Victor the finished product!
………………………………………….Leigh and Echo stayed in touch via text and Facebook. Suddenly time was moving so quickly that their messages were more and more brief, less frequent, but always full of much growth and change. They had more than one failed attempt to meet again…
In between, Echo and Victor separated.
Echo spent a lot of time alone. She found herself always having company if she needed it, wanted it; but she also returned to a simpler time… A time when she was a small child, growing up in south-central Pennsylvania. Although center city lay outside her front door, she stayed in her little apartment and recalled the sounds of silence in the woods; the occasional clopping of horses pulling buggies down the road in front of her parents’ home, the flutter of branches and leaves in the wind, the noises of nature.
She stayed in and listened to the silence until her soul would begin to sing… When the sound erupted from her mouth, she would run to her guitar… or the keyboard. Her notebook never wandered far from her hand.
Echo watched the world go on outside her from Facebook, the radio… NPR. She recalled how she had gradually turned the world off. Starting in graduate school, 2008; as she surrendered to no longer trying to study debate points to waste on hours of endless arguments with her closest friends- At that time, a brilliant classmate, Tesla with whom she had had a brief affair but found too mentally taxing and neglectful; and her new boyfriend, Rolex- the high school crush she had never pursued, returned to her life, like magic.
Neither of them really seemed to respect her opinions. Though they thought it was adorable she had them, they seemed to share the opinion of her male college composition professor, “You’re intelligent and know how to express your thoughts well, but you are a little Pollyana for my taste.”
Echo ignored the differences, assuming, Everyone’s different. I guess I’m not really going to find anyone who agrees with me much of the time.
It turned out, freeing her mind from the relentless toil of following current events gave her much more time to devote to other hobbies which she had long desired to develop. She baked. Despite her preference for other treats, she delighted in baking fresh chocolate chip cookies for Rolex whenever he had a random urge for one.
It occurred to Echo that she derived a great deal of pleasure from making wishes come true at a moment’s notice. She lived for the random requests- even from strangers -that she could reach into her pocket and fulfill.
This made walking around the streets of Philadelphia an especially heartbreaking experience for Echo. She knew she could not give every person with a cardboard sign or an empty paper-cup money.
Growing up with a coupon-cutting, experimental cooking, frugality-expert for a mother; Echo knew how to not be wasteful. She also pushed herself to work beyond what she thought the money she was earning was worth. She pushed for perfection.
Perfection is such a strong word.
In Korea, she understood there was no perfect, and yet- When her Korean side was driving the meat-suit, that was always its destined destination.
The rushing slowed… Appreciation for the journey expanded her mind, and Echo stopped pushing herself to work harder. Speed bumps kept arising on her path, not knocking her over anymore… She had learned to be resilient.
So much time passed that Echo barely recognized Victor the next time she saw him. She could not talk to this person. He was not the man she had loved dearly. He was an imposter, and it hurt to meet him.
The green dragon stomped in circles around its golden nest. It longed for the days when it had been caressed and soothed. Now alone.
She was living in her own home again. She had found much support, but now suddenly- She was truly the kite on the wind, and no one was holding her to the ground any longer.
“You’re all up here, right now,” an intuitive at a Reiki gathering told her, raising her hands above her head. “It’s bright up there. You shine… Now you have to learn to bring it down here,” she pressed her hands downward, “Learn grounding.”
This was not news to Echo. This was the same advice she had heard at the beginning of her journey. However, for nearly four years, she had been exploring the satellites and stars and space between. She was having difficulty knowing what to hold onto, how to hold on…
Magic was happening. Love was around every corner. Lessons revealed themselves to her with less pain. There were still days she spent in bed, hiding. On those days she began to make cleaning and cleansing part of her routine. She began to see her various life intentions start the process of merging and melting and blending…
Then it was the winter solstice and Echo had Leigh over for a night of Reiki and catching up…
Leigh was in a relationship now. She was delving deeper into her vulnerabilities. Travel plans had already been made. She had found another dreamer to whom she had passed on the "love" token. She was feeling more confident in her abilities and self.
The two talked endlessly for hours over tea. They traded Reiki and basked in the releases they had both experienced in giving and receiving.
“I am so lucky to have found you,” Echo felt her green dragon snoring with the same comfort as a cat purring. “Sometimes it’s strange… How Victor brought you into my life. I have to admit, I was so insecure when we met… And if we had met BEFORE then, I wouldn’t have talked to you at all! I would have just thought, Oh, she won’t like me. She’s too pretty and cool.”
Leigh burst into laughter, “Me too!”
“You are so pretty and skinny,” Echo continued. “I always wanted to have your figure! Do you know how upsetting it was when I had a boyfriend who didn’t like big breasts?”
“What?” Leigh continued laughing in disbelief.
“Oh yeah! Not Victor, but I definitely had a boyfriend who was NOT a breast man. He was just like, eh~”
“Really? That’s a real thing? Guys who don’t like boobs?” Leigh clutched her bosom, “I have heard it, but I didn’t believe it!”
“Absolutely! …and I’m not wasting any more time dating any guy who doesn’t like me as I am! I spent so many years wanting to be different… and I am different! It turns out, I’m pretty lucky. I just couldn’t always see it.”
Echo insisted Leigh sleep in her bed.
“I couldn’t take your bed,” Leigh insisted.
“Yeah, but this is how my mom taught me. So, I won’t sleep right if you don’t,” I smiled, spreading a sheet over a cot on the floor. “And it’s my house. So, please enjoy it.”
In the morning, there was more tea and more talk. Leigh confided she had dreamed of Echo, wearing a white hat, "...and when you took it off, this light came pouring out. You were shining!"
The two made intentions for the new moon while Echo prepared homefries, eggs, and toast. By the time their conversation was winding down, Echo was somewhat anxious about being alone again. She looked at her Facebook for the first time in almost 24 hours to see a Reiki gathering was scheduled to begin in an hour.
“Yay! My Reiki master is visiting our school from New Mexico!” Echo announced.
“My roommate’s asking where I am,” Leigh gathered her things.
The two hugged and said goodbye.
…At the Reiki school, Echo was greeted with an abundance of hugs. While she usually attended these gatherings for the goal of finding touch with other open-hearted people, this time, Echo was excited to simply catch up with everyone. She played a song for them… and they told her what they usually do, “That is what we have been talking about, isn’t it… Perfect.”