It all started on a cold April morning. My mom woke me the same way she always did on early Spring mornings, “Mason, your father will be here soon to take you to your psychic training.”

He always brought me a chocolate donut and a tall glass of milk. I preferred orange juice, but I learned years ago not to ask for orange juice; not since my sister disappeared, leaving behind nothing but a glass of OJ and a beautiful smile that is slowly fading from my memory, leaving behind nothing but tears and hate.

My parents were still together then. I still remember what it was like having a real family all under one roof. Mornings always seemed to be filled with laughter and great memories. Waking to laughter coming from downstairs was the norm then. So was seeing my sister, Ashlyn, throwing grapes into my Dad’s mouth from across the room as I came into the kitchen. Dad would pick me up with the biggest smile I thought possible and snuggle wrestle with me until we were both in tears. He’d always let me jump on him from the couch and as a little kid I thought it so much fun to punch him in the butt.

“STOP IT!” were the words that came out of my mouth without thinking about it. My mom stuck her head in my room and told me she was sorry to have to wake me, but that it wasn’t appropriate to speak to her that way. She didn’t know I wasn’t talking to her, but instead telling myself to stop living in the past.

I rolled over in bed and looked out the window at the rainy day in front of me. I barely spoke to my mom anymore, so I didn’t even feel the need to say anything to her this time. She left me to my thoughts and I thought about going to back to sleep, but just then Dad pulled up in his car so I knew I had to get moving.

My dad blames my mom for Ashlyn’s disappearance. I still remember hearing him from the other room yelling at mom, “THIS IS YOUR FAULT! YOU HAD ONE JOB TO DO AND YOU COULDN’T EVEN DO THAT!” She was yelling back that he should have been home helping her, but I never felt that was a valid argument since one of them had to work to bring home the bacon. What I never told either of them though was that it wasn’t either of their faults that Ashlyn was gone…it was mine.

I could have stopped it. I wanted to stop it. I just didn’t know how then. That’s changing now though. I know that now, but they don’t.

I trudged downstairs to find my dad at the front door. He rarely ever came in. I remember asking him why a couple of years ago and he told me, “It’s too hard for me.” I had no idea what he meant back then. Too hard? You just walk in the freaking door! You do it all the time when we go to Target together! What makes this door frame so difficult?! 

I brought it up with my therapist once…yeah, I have a therapist…my parents insisted I go see one when I stopped talking. I didn’t want to at first. I just wanted to fix what I had done. But I was just a kid and didn’t know how and I was afraid speaking to my parents would make them disappear the same way my sister disappeared. I know, it sounds dumb, but it made all the sense in the world to me then.

After not saying a word for 3 months, they insisted I go see someone. They had a long list of potential therapists I could go see, but they couldn’t decide which one would be best. Like everything back then, after Ashlyn’s disappearance, every little discussion they had turned into a yelling match. I hated it. I hated it so much!!! My mom threw the list off the table while screaming at my dad and it floated down to my feet. I picked up the list and carried it outside to be closer to the ones in the forest…the ones that talk to me.

“What do you think?” I said once I was far enough away from the screaming and fully absorbed in the beautiful forest behind my house. Strange how I didn’t mind talking to “them”, the ones that can’t be seen, but I found it so hard to talk to people any more. I held up the list to see if they would respond. They always did. I wish others could hear them too, but alas I think I’m the only one that can.

The faintest whisper of a name came to me…”Delilah”. I turned the list around and looked at the names and sure enough, Delilah was on the list. “Thanks” I said and went back inside where my parents were pouting in separate rooms. I went and got my yellow highlighter and brightly colored her name and handed it to my Dad. 

“Delilah? You want to see Delilah?” I opened my mouth, but couldn’t make the words come out, so closed my mouth and simply nodded yes instead. So, that’s how I got a therapist.

It’s been years now, but I remember asking Delilah why my Dad won’t come in my mom’s new house. She explained to me that the vast majority of adults are sleep walking through life. They think the traumatic memories they have are just that, memories, and that avoiding certain spaces will enable them to avoid the past pain, but in reality, it is the energy flow of the universe that they are trying to avoid without knowing it.