I am bringing another part of the story being written here rather than leave this place silent and abandoned. As you know, I am prepping for a novel writing challenge. The present story contains characters who are archetypal as the protagonist takes his modern day hero’s journey through a midlife crisis. This is a continuation of what I posted a week ago, the introduction to the story. Enjoy and let me know what you think.
“Before we begin this evening’s activity, I want to thank all of you for working so hard. Now, it is time to have a bit of fun,” grinned Neta. “I want each of you to find your animal spirit. What bird or animal do you associate with at this moment? In a few minutes we will all sing our animal spirit songs. Take these few moments to think of which spirit is calling you. When it is time to begin, we will give each of you a chance to cut loose and set that spirit free.”
“This is easy,” Ray boasted to me and anyone who was within hearing range. “I’m a Whiskey Jack, a tricky old bird. What about you, Hugh?”
“I don’t know. I thought about owl, but it doesn’t seem right. Maybe I’m just a sparrow. I’ll see.”
“My spirit is a unicorn,” added Anne who added a bright “Neigh!” to emphasize her choice.
The room was rather noisy with laughter and the sounds of various animals and birds when Guy called for our attention. Neta went through the list of participants giving each person a chance to showcase their spirit. Ray was first on the list as his last name was Adams. He wasted no time in flapping his arms and hopping while giving his raucous croaks and then motioning as if pecking on the ground. He had everyone in stitches including Neta and Guy. With Ray’s example, the enthusiasm was contagious and the room resonated with the calls of birds and animals with a few more daring to add some body movements as well. When it was my turn, I gave a weak “Chirp, chirp.” It was so quiet that few heard it. Guy asked me to do it again while the room went silent. Feeling self-conscious, I put a bit more effort into it letting a more realistic sound emerge. I was good at bird calls, so the sound was instantly recognisable by many who shouted out, “A Sparrow, a Sparrow.”
~ ~ ~
The evening session was over, but apparently not for me. Guy caught me before I could slip out and told me that he wanted me to try something.
“Your sparrow was sweet, Hugh. But you have to admit that as a spirit, it was weak. I want you to try one final thing. Will you go along with me?”
“Sure, Guy,” I answered a bit tentatively. “What did you have in mind?”
“It’s a Gestalt exercise similar to the ones you use with your student clients. I want you to lie on your back and the support your hips as you peddle an imaginary bike in the air. Okay?
“Okay.” I lay on the floor where Guy indicated, and I began to peddle an imaginary bike.
“Faster, Hugh. Pick up the pace.”
I did as I was told and peddled faster but not as fast as Guy thought I should peddle.
“Faster. Come on Hugh,” Guy challenged with his voice louder and more demanding. “Faster. Come on, get those legs pumping. Faster! Faster!”
I could feel myself resisting the demands to go as fast as I could go, but as other voices joined Guy’s encouraging me to go faster, I finally lost control and peddled faster and faster and faster. The sweat began to fall into my eyes and I began crying as my whole body bounced with the peddling. And then I stopped only to have my body continue heaving with sobbing. I felt broken. Soon those present knelt beside me and embraced me in a group hug. I kept on crying and heard them crying in sympathy with me. When I finally grew quiet, I looked up and saw Guy smiling.
“You did it Hugh. I’m proud of you.”