Have you met someone you believe does not belong to our world? Someone so pure and innocent and happy? When I met her, I was affronted. I disbelieved her honesty and doubted the stars in her eyes. But even the misanthrope that is me was bowled over. I fell for this young vivacious woman who lived to curl the corners of others’ lips. Whose bright eyes and consistent craving of knowledge caused my stony heart to quiver and warm over.
And like a treasure hunter protecting his find, I wanted no harm to come to her. I wanted to protect her from the ills and evil of men; from the unsavoury deeds of humans like me. I didn’t want her to see the things my very eyes had at first flinched from then become accustomed to. I wanted her to remain in her form; untainted, pure, wholesome.
Then you came along with the strut in your steps and the lies on your tongue. The arrogance in your shoulders and the wisdom in your eyes. Her eyes widened and her belly clenched. Her young heart had found a person to tick the boxes the long list on her pink flowered paper. She was enchanted. Ensnared. As you were. Surprised that there was still some good in the world; you were as smitten as she. Wanting rest for your weary feet, you laid at hers. Pulled out your well-used flute and she danced and danced.
Then she came to me. Her dainty feet tucked underneath her laps on my couch, asked for my advice. And I told her. “Men are evil. Men are cruel. Hurt is inevitable.” But her eyes were unfocused and a small smile played around her lips. Then she said to me, “but if you don’t try then you’ll never know”… And I recognized it as not her words but the words from a song but their import was no less on me. So, I bid her risk. Gave her anklets and oiled her feet; showed her how to dance.
But you did what you know to do. It is harder to unlearn than to learn. Though you had encountered a pearl; you were only comfortable in a life of games and lust. So, you stood abruptly and walked away. Leaving her staring after you in shock and surprise and disbelief.
You have etched the first scratch on my pearl. You bruised the vintage tea pot. Now, she sees soldiers of grey marching into her picture of black and white. The bird now limps; the rambunctious puppy now whimpers.
I make a joke and she laughs. Not because what I have said is funny but because she sees through my attempts to make her laugh. She sniffs and rubs a handkerchief against her red nose. I look for words of consolation in the rolling fan; for platitudes in the prints of the curtains. And find none. She looks up at me and shrugs and I can swear the light in her eyes has dimmed several watts.
You will meet someone that does not belong to our world. Someone pure and honest and untainted. A fresh breeze in your stale life. And you will want to raise your mother-hen feathers and try to protect her from the injustices of life. But you can’t. You can only hold a hand and make tea and send funny pictures and hope that this event, this jolting would fade quickly into a scar.
Photo credit: neilblevins.com