“It’s the things you least expect that hit you the hardest.”

~ anonymous



Chapter 4 Recap:

Phoenix confronts haunting memories as he revisits a significant site from his past. The chapter unfolds with recollections of a leisurely Labor Day morning followed by an unexpected breakup five months later. Emotions intensify as Phoenix battles self-doubt, grief, and negative thoughts. The journey takes a poignant turn as Phoenix grapples with the reopening of childhood wounds, leaving him torn between tears, anger, and the need to confront the echoes of the past.




…My childhood wound had re-opened, and it was gushing blood. It was going to get infected if I didn’t tend to it and this wasn’t helping!


My tears turned to anger. Why the fuck did Rafiki take me here? Of all places! Why here?



Unpredictable Conversations With Rafiki


I have run to catch up with Rafiki as he starts the 2.1 miles down to Muir Woods. He’s skipping. Well, if a mandrill can skip that is. He does look quite ridiculous from the back. Especially since he uses his staff to propel himself forward.


Skip. Push. Jump. Skip. Push. Jump.


Muir Woods Trail
© 2024, Inner Child Dimensions, LLC.



I settle in behind him, matching his excited leaps at a brisk pace.


Rafiki chants in a sing song voice, “The more passionate and intense the relationship starts, the deeper the wound it’s trying to heal.”


I swear he reminds me of when he was singing, “Asante sana squash banana, Wewe nugu mimi hapana” and Simba was chasing him trying to figure out how he knew his name. I’m practically running to keep up.


The more passionate and intense the relationship starts, the deeper the wound it’s trying to heal Click To Tweet


This goes on for a couple of minutes before he abruptly stops, turns, and immediately swings his staff at my head. Instinctively, I bring mine up, blocking his, as a loud crack echoes throughout the canyon.


“I see you are no longer running from the past. You are learning from it.” He smiles, and winks, then turns and saunters down the path. I immediately slow my steps or else run him over.


Somehow, that mandril always keeps me on my toes. I never know what he’s going to do or what he’s going to say.


Rafiki knows my back story. He knows what happened this week. We just haven’t had a chance to discuss it. And it’s times like these, I wonder why I open the door to having these conversations with him.


“I did not see this coming,” Rafiki solemnly breaks the silence. “I wish I did. I know how much you wanted this relationship to work out.”


I sigh and breathe deeply. On one hand, I want to process this with him. On the other, I’m not sure I’m in the mental state to handle any critique right now.


Wait. He didn’t see it coming either? He sounds as disappointed as me. Like every one of my friends when they ask how my girlfriend is doing and I have to explain we broke up. Everyone is surprised.


All I can think to say was, “She caught me blindsided. I mean, I sensed something, but I didn’t expect we’d go from committed to single just like that.” I snap my fingers. I want to cry but take deep breaths to stay grounded.


“You were both blind,” Rafiki responds.


“I knew something was off. The energy between her was different. She’ll wait till we see each other in person before we have the harder conversations. That was a long ten days to wonder what was going on. But to end it? Without making any effort to work together?” I shake my head in sadness and frustration. “I’m so confused Rafiki. I thought we had better communication than that.” My head drops and I stare at my feet as I walk.


“Phoenix, she knows she’ll be gone for five months to follow her dreams. She knows she can’t give you what you need. It’s easier to break it off now than to wait until the inevitable,” Rafiki tries to sound empathetic. He’s not. He sounds like he’s lecturing me. I don’t want to listen to this.


“Well, she says it’s not a breakup,” I blurt with venom in my tone. “That she hasn’t left me. We’ve just redefined our relationship.” I hiss the word redefined like toxic gas.


“When did you two separate?”


“You know that?”




“Last week.”


“Were you in a coupleship the week before?”


“I thought we were boyfriend and girlfriend. I mean until she said she wanted a change.”


“If it’s no longer a coupleship, it’s a breakup. We are good at parsing words. What I make up she is saying is that she wants your relationship to be the same, but doesn’t want to be committed. That’s what a breakup is. It’s removing commitment.”


I didn’t expect what Rafiki would say next, “What a gift she gave you.”


I’m at a loss of words. Gift? What? I’m shocked with the change of direction Rafiki just took in our conversation. Just like her, he unexpectedly changed his tune.


In the blink of an eye, without any chance to understand or work on what’s going on he starts talking gifts. I’m not ready for the gifts. I want to scream.


Rafiki isn’t going to stop. Once he’s on a roll, look out. Did anyone teach him about boundaries!?…


Chapter 6


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