“Of all the liars in the world, sometimes the worst are our own fears.”

~ Rudyard Kipling



Chapter 2 Recap:

On the drive to Muir Woods, Phoenix reflects on Rafiki’s persuasive energy. Despite Rafiki’s lively demeanor, Phoenix grapples with inner turmoil, comparing the dynamics of their conversation to those he has struggled with all his life. As they drive in silence, Phoenix attempts to break the tension with a humorous anecdote from a men’s meeting. The conversation takes a serious turn when Rafiki connects the recent loss of  Phoenix’s MacBook Pro and his recent breakup, prompting introspection about priorities. The chapter unfolds with a palpable sense of unease and anticipation, leaving Phoenix questioning the meaning behind the silence and the potential lessons the universe may be trying to convey.




…Somehow reading my thoughts while pressing his face against the passenger side window, as if he could see any better getting closer to it, Rafiki declares, “Maybe this is the lesson the universe wants you to learn.”


We drive the last 35 minutes in silence.


The Arrival


I park my black Honda Accord in the parking lot across the street from the Mountain Home Inn. I open the back door and grab both Rafiki’s staff and mine. I can’t help but stare at the one Rafiki gifted me 7 years ago. I reflect on how lost I was for so many years before he felt I had earned the right to carry this staff and how much work I’d done to heal, not only from my divorce, but my childhood trauma as well.


And yet today, I feel as if I haven’t learned a thing. Old patterns are hard to change.


My staff is worn at the edges. The Phoenix carving that encircles the entire upper portion, as well as the bottom half depicting the fire the phoenix rises out of, was surprisingly in good condition. There’s a chip on one of the wings, and the tail shows a scratch, yet overall, it still looks new.


I need to paint this sometime. Make it really stand out. Or is that me wanting to be seen and validated? I shrug my shoulders as I hand Rafiki his staff.


Old patterns are hard to change. ~ Phoenix Emery Share on X


I don’t know if I would call Rafiki’s staff a staff. It’s more like a stick. It looks flimsy compared to mine, curved in a couple of areas with a pouch tied at the top filled with nuts or something that rattles when he shakes it. I used to think his staff was so majestic. Next to his, mine looks too stylish. Too graceful. Like an exquisite piece of art that a wealthy person would lock in a case. They provide the same function. I just don’t feel worthy to walk around with something so elegant.


Rafiki is already moving away, excited to hike down into the woods.


I pause one moment and look over my shoulder, an unsettling wave of fear and sadness beginning to well up in the pit of my stomach…



Chapter 4

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