I met Amanda during one fateful day.
I woke up, dazed, on top of Crab Apple Hill.
The sun was just rising up the faraway mountains. And some early birds perched atop the trees, preening themselves.
Amanda was sitting beside me. She asked me for my name. I shook my head, I couldn’t remember.
Smiling, she lifted her head up to the sky and breathed deeply.
“You know, I really love the sunrise. Even sunsets.”
The subject was weird, but I was compelled to say something.
“Why is that?” My head throbbed and I lifted my hand to massage my temples.
“They mark the end of a day, and the beginning of a new one.”
I nodded, although I couldn’t fully understand what in the world that had to do with me. I couldn’t even remember why I was here.
“You shouldn’t worry about your memories.” She smiled again and looked at me. “I’m Amanda, Amanda Valentino.”
“That’s a pretty name.” I answered, because I wasn’t sure if this was my cue to shake her hand or introduce myself too. I mean who am I kidding, I didn’t even know my own name.
She cocked her head to the side and winked at me. “How about Amber?”
“Amber. Would you like that name?”
“Amber…” I said, turning the name over my tongue, registering it in my head. But this was crazy. Why was she giving me a new name?
I wanted my old one back. And my head aches.
Amanda ignored the puzzled look on my face.
“That’s one color that both the sunrise and the sunset has. Amber stones were also said to help people accept changes. Make right decisions. It helps heal the body, mind, and soul…” Here she looked at me intently, “And it also helps them to think clear thoughts.”
My head was fuzzed in alright, but Amanda’s voice rode the wind like a thousand chimes. I felt relaxed, and my eyes traveled to her fingers, which was carefully twirling around a yellowish vintage pendant. She noticed my diverted attention, and she giggled. “I love this necklace too, besides the surise and sunset.”
“Because its an amber stone?”
She shook her head and stared at the cold stone. “No. Because this is me.”
I think I heard her wrong that time. I did forget my name, but I still knew my grammar. “You mean because its yours, right?”
Here she laughed heartily, throwing her head back as if it was a joke only she could understand. “Silly Amber…” She tucked a strand of my hair that was loosely flapping on my face. Then she took back her hand and stared at me intently “Because this,” she held the pendant up for me to see, “This represents who I am.”
The stone caught the sunlight, sending little sparkles of rainbows dancing around on our feet.
She stood up and brushed the grass clinging on her cream bohemian skirt. “You’ll love that name, I’m sure.”
And I just sat there, as if I was glued to the spot where I was sitting.
“I’ll see you soon Amber, it was lovely meeting you.”
She smiled her sweet smile and made her way down the hill, her auburn hair flying about her.
“Help people think clear thoughts, Amber, clear thoughts… clear thoughts!”
It was as if she was shouting, but the wind was carrying her voice like a whisper, floating all around me.
I tried to follow her with my eyes, but as soon as she disappeared from my sight, my head pounded again.
Thud, thud, thud.
Like a hammer pounding the head of a nail.
Thud, thud, thud.
Then my vision blurred.
Then I fell back on the grass.
Until blackness surrounded me. Until there was no more sound of birds chirping, or the wind howling.
Until the only sound left was Amanda’s voice.
Until I could only hear my slow uneven breath.
Until I could only hear my heartbeat.
Until I was no more.