We spend most of our time and energy in a kind of horizontal thinking. We move along the surface of things [but] there are times when we stop. We sit still. We lose ourselves in a pile of leaves or its memory. We listen and breezes from a whole other world begin to whisper. James Carroll
Yesterday afternoon I stumbled upon this quote. I had written it down and tucked it away in the kind of place I tuck away a little nugget I am not quite ready for. And now, as if a process has been completed, I rediscovered it, new again, a glowing gem, perfect in every facet, to sit before me as I write about listening to the whisper of what is behind me…
Continued from In Pursuit of the “Meltdowns, 1994-2003″ File
She handed me the file and asked, “Have you been dancing lately?”
“No, not for a while.” I replied.
“Did you notice Sinatra singing? And without time for a reply from me, enthusiastically she added, “I’m finally learning the foxtrot. I’m so excited. I just love all the foxtrot music and have always wanted to learn but I couldn’t get the basic step. But now I am. See. Watch this.”
With that she went over to her computer and started the same Sinatra song I first heard just moments ago and as he sang, “Why do I do, just as you say? Why must I just, give you your way?” she skipped back to the center of the room between her desk and the door to the room she called the Dead Letter Office. I could see her foot tapping slightly as she waited for the down beat and when it came, she held up her arms as if to pretend she was in the arms of a dance partner and simultaneously started dancing and laughing.
She did this for several minutes, lost in the music and the steps. This woman was dancing in a dreary submarine. Then, as suddenly as she had started dancing, she stopped. Self-consciously she said, “I’m so sorry. I’m just babbling on about dancing while you are at the start of your story.”
She took her hands and patted her head to straighten up hair and then did the same to her shirt, pulling at the ends as if all her activity had left her disheveled. When she finished realigning herself she returned to the counter, forearms outstretched before her and leaned towards me.
“You be okay, all right, and don’t get too lost in all of that stuff.” She said this as she glanced at the file, now in my hands. “I know how it can get. It’s where it’s kept for a reason you know.”
Her voice was much softer. And although she was filled with empathy, and was as natural at that as she was bouncing around her office, I felt badly for affecting her mood. It had changed and I was the reason. The smile and the laughter were so much more fitting.
“When you are finished come back and let’s dance.” Her blue eyes looked right into mine as she said this. “It’s always so much fun, you and I together, music and dancing.“
“I will.” I replied. “Soon.”
And with that she leaned over the counter, squeezed my hand and returned to her desk. “Bye Allison.”
She knew me and she knew what was in my hand and apparently she knew both well.