My regular clients know that I’m cautious about taking referrals. The relationship developed between my clients and myself is built over time and based on trust. The subjects broached during consultation are quite often very private and personal. Especially early on, my clients constantly need reassurance that their confidences will be kept and I do my best to reassure them. Our relationships are rather intimate ones and I don’t take the responsibility lightly.
However, quite often at some point I am made aware that this confidentiality has become one-sided. A client comes in gushing about how they told their friend all about me and all the things that have changed in their life as the result of our sessions. The friend really wants to come but is nervous because of, insert reason here; their faith forbids it, afraid their partner, children, parents will find out, afraid I will think their situation is laughable or too extreme, afraid I’m a satanic witch…the list goes on.
This puts me in an uncomfortable situation; I want to help my client but not at the expense of our relationship. If their friend is not as satisfied or conscientious as they are, I could ultimately lose my long-time client. So, I do my best to honor our established relationship while negotiating the traps and pitfalls of “bringing in the friend”. Yes, referrals can be tricky.
That being said, I have a client that has continued to come to me for several years and through all manner of personal and professional changes. In this time, they have not even once talked of a referral so when the subject came up I knew it must be something important. You see, my client is an extremely private person. No one in their family or professional and social circles knows they come to me. A client of their ilk is precious and rare and I’m sure that even you, dear reader, can understand the desire I had to help them.
I was not told what manner of relationship they had to the person they were referring or even any details of the issue. I was only asked that if they gave my card to this person and suggested they contact me, would I see them? I confirmed I would and then my client continued with their session as usual. Several days later I received a call with an unfamiliar voice on the other end. After a few false starts on their part, they said they had been given my number and named my client. I let them know I had been expecting to hear from them and asked how I could be of help. They said they preferred to meet rather than do a phone consultation, so after ascertaining they were in traveling distance of my area, the appointment was made.
Their arrival was punctual but before they even made their nervous entrance I was hit with a cloud of frenetic and anxious thoughts so powerful I had to take a step back. Their fear and concern had practically become tangible. I took a deep breath to fortify my shields then had them come in and sit down. For the next hour I spoke very little as their story unfolded, parts verbally and others poured over me psychically unbeknownst to them.
There was a little girl, perhaps 3 years old. She would be a grown woman by now (or should be) but the issue centered around her as a youth. She had dark red hair that was often kept in pigtails and large, infinite green eyes. She was an astute and precocious child who was frequently alone despite a warm and friendly disposition. She hated injustice and lies, knew monsters were real and was afraid a large part of the time.
She liked bubbles and riding Big Wheels, going hunting with her grandfather and working with him on the farm, sled riding in the winter and swimming in the summer, the colors red and pink and watching Batman and Sesame Street. She loved animals and nature but she loved her family most of all.
I could see this child clearly as she walked alone along the edge of an asphalt road and vacant lot filled with weeds and Queen Anne’s Lace, moving from one moment and experience to another as a child does. I watched her from a distance in my mind’s eye until I felt the time was right then I let her know I was there. She turned her attention from a particularly interesting giant foxtail to meet my eyes and gauge me with her own immense green ones then returned to examining the plant. Now, to find how she fit in this person’s fears.
The would-be client, whom I will call “C”, sat across from me, alternately rubbing their hands then nervously tugging at their clothes. Their eyes rising to my face only occasionally and even then only to make sure I was still listening since, as I said, I was mostly quiet. Their words were spoken with a lack of feeling and I wondered how often they had rehearsed their story. They were careful to only say what they were comfortable with revealing. Naturally, that was of little interest to me. It’s what they were trying to avoid bringing out in open that was my focus.
Rumors. There had been stories being passed around that were becoming problematic. They felt sure the source was a neighbor of theirs from years ago. What they didn’t understand was the timing; why try to cause trouble now and what was their ultimate goal?
The little girl stirred in my mind’s eye. She walked a little ways into the overgrown lot as if something had caught her attention and demanded closer observation. I looked at the person across the table from me then asked them how they thought I could help with their problem. They wanted me to silence the ones telling the stories or instruct them so they could successfully do it. I asked why the stories were such a problem for them and they claimed concern about potential damage to their status and reputation. At this honest admission, the little girl went a bit farther into the overgrowth, she was fading away. If “C” continued to resist opening up I wouldn’t be able to help them or the child.
Usually, I try to avoid telling clients all that I know. It has the negative effect of shocking them because even though they come to me in search of answers that they hope I have gained perhaps through some psychic gift, proof of such a gift is never truly welcome and very much feared. In this situation, perhaps a little fear was needed. I asked, “What does this have to do with the little girl with red pigtails?”
“C’s” eyes widened and they raised their head to look at me with surprise. Quickly, their look changed to that of a person who had just been insulted followed by the countenance of anger complete with flared nostrils. They set their jaw and considered leaving right then. I continued to sit as I was, listening as they mentally weighed their choices. In my mind’s eye I could just make out the dark red pigtails peeking over the top of some weeds. The child and I waited a breathless moment, then “C” spoke.
“The stories being told are about a place I used to live a few years ago. Like I said before, I think I know who the person or people are that are telling them. They were my neighbors and friends of my family from when I lived there.” At this “C” sighed and looked at their hands. “They are also about a member of my family…someone that was very close.” “C” ventured a nervous glance my way then continued to talk. “The girl that you mentioned.”
“C” looked down at their hands on the table and flexed both to full open extension then slowly brought the palms together until just the fingertips touched in a very purposeful way. “C” was fighting to keep control. In my mind, the owner of the dark red pigtails was calm and listening. “C” continued.
“People have been saying they see her… walking around.” “C” appeared to be staring at their hands as they pushed their fingertips together then allowed them to roll so that slowly the palms came together. But they were actually far away, remembering and recalling, keeping a tenuous grip on their control. “Walking around our old house, …by the bus stop,…in the old lot and the fields beyond.”
At this, the little girl exited the overgrowth with both flowers and weed flowers in her hand. She barely walked as her attention was focused on her pretty finds.
“But the problem is that it can’t be her. It can’t be her because she’s been missing for years…and if it was really her, she would be a grown woman by now!” “C’s” pitch of voice was the only thing that had risen; they remained sitting with their eyes on their hands.
The little red-haired friend in my head had wandered upon a sandbox and after carefully setting her floral treasures on the ground beside it, stepped inside where she sat on the edge and commenced to play. After being sure that I wouldn’t be interrupting “C” if I spoke, I did so. “Why are these stories so upsetting to you?”
“C’s” moving hands stopped and they blinked as if they were just now seeing them for the first time. They blinked again then dropped their hands to the table and looked at me. “Because they aren’t true. Because all that happened a long time ago and I’ve moved on.”
I asked what I thought was a rational question; how did they know it wasn’t true? “C’s” only answer was a look so I pushed, “Have you gone back to see for yourself if the stories are true?” After a pause, a flat “No” was the reply. “Well then perhaps you should. Go for yourself, check the story. Take a camera and record your findings. That is a very popular practice these days from what I understand. Get empirical evidence that the stories are untrue and you begin to solve the problem. “
“C” sat back in their chair and plainly said, “That isn’t going to happen.”
I replied with a smile.
“I’m not doing that”, replied “C”. I don’t have to. All that happened a long time ago. She’s been missing long enough that she would be grown by now, not still a little girl. I’m not going to make a fool out of myself.”
I looked at “C” and tilted my head slightly as I spoke, “You keep saying she would be grown by now, do you know where she is?” I paused then continued, “Because after child has been missing for such a long time, it is commonly assumed they should no longer be looking for a person… that what they should be looking for is closure.”
Although “C” gave no outward sign, I felt their conscience flinch. I felt my hope fade.
“If you know where this grown child is then perhaps it’s time to let others know too. I’m not saying reveal her exact location but there would be no harm in confirming she doesn’t linger at your old residence but in a new one, far away. That would be mutually beneficial, would it not? You would, if not quiet the stories, at least give them another focus and your reputation would remain intact.”
“C’s” conscience gave a grey squirm as they looked to the table with a resigned face. I fought an urge to recoil in my seat. My little red-haired friend giggled brightly, apparently amused at having completed a rather impressive sandcastle. I prepared to make last my obligatory statements.
“The protection you say you offer is for a missing child, not a grown woman. Your continued silence is therefore inappropriate and will yield nothing but stress. If she has managed to survive after being taken from your family then she is not a child any longer and is capable of protecting herself. Only if she is still a child, incapable of defending herself from whatever unscrupulous person or thing that dared to take her “away”, would protection be justified. And as time dictates and you have stated several times, that can’t be the case.”
I stood and as I gave my parting statement, I walked to the door and opened it.
“You are the one that is keeping the stories alive by not offering any evidence to the contrary. This begs the question, why? Why would you need to protect the child while making unverified claims that she made it to adulthood? Why would you resist taking action to stop these stories if they trouble you so? Are you worried more, perhaps, at the questions that would be asked if you spoke up? “
I opened the storm door and stepped outside. I turned with a polite smile and gestured for “C” to come out. As they did so I told them that the solution was in their grasp, they need only take action and that I sincerely hoped they would decide to act. As they descended the small staircase, I stepped inside and closed the storm door, deftly flipping the lock as I bid them goodbye.
In my time with the little girl and “C”, I learned the location of the story. A few internet searches and a visit to Google maps and I had directions. It wasn’t a terribly long distance so I made plans for a day trip.
I will not relate any more details about the little one save that the places she is said to be seen still exist, relatively unmolested. It is in a suburban area but very close to a four-lane interstate and a major city. If you are able to determine the location from the pictures I included and are of a sensitive nature, perhaps she will let you see her. However, if you are of another mind and decide to take a condescending or domineering tone then you will have wasted a trip.
Her days of pleasing and doing as she is told are long over.