Echo can no longer deny the need to take responsibility for her own life.

Narcissus cannot believe Echo has not returned home. She should have come home a while ago and why did she have to harp on him? Narcissus calls Echo a few hours later. He is frustrated that he even has to make this phone call.He tries not to shout into the phone.”Echo it is time to come home for dinner.”

She can hear the anger in his voice still, but every cell in her body wants to run home to Narcissus. “I don’t think that is a good idea.” Echo says with some feigned conviction. At the same time she recognizes that her denial has been broken. She knows he is a danger to her. She tells him “You terrified me to the point I had to run out of the house. I don’t even get an apology, just an order to come home for dinner. I am sorry, but I am not going to do this anymore. You need to move out. I will give you a few hours before I come home to figure it out and do not be there.”

Echo wishes Narcissus would beg and plead or at least try to apologize. In the most contemptible voice Echo has ever heard, Narcissus responds like it was his idea to move out all along. “Perfect. I will move out tonight. Not a problem at all. I am sick of your crap.” Echo wonders what ‘crap’ he is referring to. He appears to have absolutely no regard for how his scary behavior affects her and for some reason this still stuns her.

Narcissus hangs up on her immediately. Wow he even gets the last word she thinks as she drops her phone into her lap. Another relationship has gone to shit. Why doesn’t she get what she wants? A good relationship with someone who loves her. Is that too much to ask? She has been a good nymph, kind to all creatures and good to her family and friends. She pays attention to the universe around her and tries to do the right thing. OK maybe she has neglected all of these parts of her life lately, but she was trying to help Narcissus

Echo’s denial had come in handy in the past protecting her from the overwhelming nature of her suffering with Narcissus. She can now no longer deny her awareness of Narcissus’s harmful nature, thanks to the Hunter who helped her to gather the strength to find out how harmful to her he really is.  She knows she has to do something different, but she is terrified of being on her own and is not sure she can do it. Sometimes, the devil one knows is superior to the the devil one doesn’t know.

Echo is still in the pub. She had walked to an isolated corner on the patio when Narcissus called and has now returned to one of the tables with some friends, all of whom had stopped by to offer support.

The sun is going down. The air is crisp being moved by a slight breeze. It is unusually warm for a winter evening, yet there is the smell of smoke coming from fresh wood burning in a nearby fireplace. Echo thinks about her own home, the home she tried to share with Narcissus,  how neither of them had ever used the fireplace, and how they never really created a home together. She pictures him packing all of his stuff, emptying out drawers, and clearing out closets.

A tear slides down her cheek and her throat feels like it is closing off her air. Samaria, her friend, notices and puts an arm around her pulling her close. Samaria is a much older mountain nymph who lives alone way up in the mountains above the forest. She rarely comes to the city, as she finds it too distracting. She is a bit strange to a wood nymph like Echo, preferring her own company to anyone else. Also, like most mountain nymphs she is much taller than other types of nymphs. Her home is an old abandoned airstream trailer she found on a remote plot of land. This is her idea of paradise. She goes days without seeing another being.

Echo loves to run into her because she is a very odd character full of hard fought wisdom and she is always up for sharing one of her stories from her colorful past.

This evening Samaria appears very serious and wants to talk to her about what happened with Narcissus.She stares into Echo’s face and speaks slowly wanting to make sure that Echo absorbs each and every word like a relished blessing. “My sweet just know you are well loved.” But before Samaria can continue, her long hair-kind of scraggly because she almost never washes it-blows right into Echo’s face, forcing her to shield her face from it with her hands. “Oh my dear not trying to force feed you my hair.  Anyway, this is what you are going to do. It is time for you to stop playing it safe. You are being forced to face your worst fears of rejection and abandonment because you consistently make choices that are below you. This is true in everything you do. You pick men who do not challenge you and with whom you do not even share the same values. You pick jobs that are boring to you that you can do in your sleep. You do not challenge yourself with anything. Enough is enough!”

Echo feels her stomach drop and wants to cry out in frustration. She is so tired of people judging her and telling her what is wrong with her. Isn’t this what Narcissus had been doing to her, telling her what is wrong with her all of the time? “But Samaria I have traveled the world. I have sought out adventure and experience. I left my first husband because I wanted more from a relationship.I have worked hard at my job and saved money.”

“Yes my sweet you have. But always with fear like a wind at your back, pushing you in the wrong direction. It is time to let go of these bad habits of always trying to avoid your fears. Suffering, if looked at properly can be a gift, but this is only if you can claim it fully and admit how much you are hurting. It is time to explore it, become aware of it and this will be the impetus for you to change. No matter how afraid you might be, it is time to trust the universe, let go, and find a new path.” Samaria then laughs and says “Or you can keep doing the same things you have been doing. There are other Narcissuses out there or just straight-up losers, if you would prefer. Check out that guy over there.” She points to a guy puking over the railing of the patio. Echo objects,”Look  we know that guy. He is our friend just having a tough night.”  Echo says. Samaria waves Echo’s words away into the air and continues her warning “You are at a crossroads. I hope you take the right path.”

Echo tries to take this all in. She notices her first inclination is to get up right now and return to Narcissus. He understands her. He is what is familiar. Samaria doesn’t care about her. She is just a crazy old nymph who spends too much time alone and wants Echo to end up just like her.





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