The Seven Month Lesson
Waiting For The Sun (Part One)
Seven months ago I found myself at the wedding of two dear friends. I don't care for weddings much but this one was at a summer camp that had captured my imagination. They said their vows on a bluff overlooking the lake in a short outdoor ceremony, and then we were free to explore the entire place for the night. The reception being held in the same place as the ceremony, and with cabins to be had for those who wanted to stay the night and stake a claim to one, the night had potential. Although I knew full well I would end up on the beach with a fire and a grin for the rising sun as if to say "I beat you to the morning once again," in the same way you would look back at a friend who is crossing the finish line after you in an unimportant race. I had to make some effort before I could enact my disappearance of course. But I was quickly driven away by people and their schemes for projects and jobs I would make a "great partner" for. I found myself smoking a cigarette, with an interesting old hippie, on the bluff with the moonlight reflecting off of the lake and basking us in its glow. We sat and spoke of past times and time to come. But mostly we could only talk about the current beauty of that moment. Of how beautiful nature is and how lost this world is sometimes, his intuition leading him to ask if I was also lost. Which I was, around that time, but not at that current moment. Who can be lost when Mother Nature is taking such care to reveal herself to you? After some time we parted ways, like dear friends from another life, and I walked into the darkness towards some string lights in the distance. These lights leading to, and crossing, a bridge that connected the two separate sections of the camp. I blindly walked through the secondary section of the camp until I hit the edge. And then I kept walking into the woods, darkness and foliage surrounding me. Being alone in the wilderness at night has never inspired fear in me. On the contrary it always feels safe. I came to another camp, an entire empty village. One with our own private beach access, multiple cabins, bathrooms, and showers to use. I went back to collect a few key people now that I felt my adventuring wouldn't turn up anything more fruitful than this. After I finished spreading the word about our secret spot I was unwillingly caught in a few conversations. After struggling through the interactions with some people coming off of the dance floor my friends date asked me why I'm still single. She told me how personable I am and continued to pour honey in my ears. I honestly didn’t pay much attention though. I have never been good at accepting compliments. I could only respond with "I just recently started seeing beauty again" and then disappeared back to my private beach to start a fire and wait for the sun.
The Dangers of Safety (Part Two)
Her mother was right to worry about her going out with a stranger like me. But not for the reasons she would have thought. With someone like me, who writes about their life in general, nothing tends to be sacred. Father's warn your daughters to be careful not to catch the imagination of a writer or he could capture them. Capture them in a single moment on the page so it can live forever. And she thought I couldn't see her, but she could never have known how much I was paying attention. That devious smile and the secrets that hid behind those eyes. The pain that all people show from time to time behind those big beautiful eyes. And ironically, because of that planned distance on my part, I am sure I will never see her again. But I accept that fair judgment. I was taken to High Court and was found wanting. But let's not focus on the end of this story just yet. Let’s talk about her instead. It was at the second spot we visited that night, after grabbing a drink and getting to know one another, that she took a long drag off of her cigarette and asked me if I danced. I motioned with my drink towards some others on the dance floor commenting if it's only having an attractive girl grinding on me then who doesn't dance. It didn't take long for her sly smile to pull me closer, slowly at first and then at a quicker pace. And, as any good huntress who knows exactly what she is doing, she moved slowly closer to the dance floor a little more each time. Now that the trap was set all it would take was a nudge. It all seemed to start as a joke, with her bending over in front of me as I grabbed her waist and pulled her in closer. Running my other hand down the middle of her back I realized if this started as a joke it wasn’t anymore. She slowly arched and rose back up with each inch my hand traveled down the center of her back. My hand landing back on her hip at the same time she pressed her back up against me. Then reaching up and behind her she grabbed the back of my head and pulled my face up against the back of her neck. I pulled her in tighter by the hips as my lips met her neck and her hand ran down the back of mine. I can still remember the feeling of her hips in my hands, the smell of her hair, how I felt with her pressed against me. Music loudly playing, in the middle of a crowded dance floor, and time freezing there. The feeling I could reach up and bend one of the colored light beams from the multicolored lights all dance floors have. As if in suspended animation, or slow motion, beams of light just hanging in the air. Illuminating her body as it was pressed up against mine, her hands now in the air and my fingertips now slowly and gently running up her arms and back down again. Her sly glances over her shoulder out of the corner of her eye as I breathed her in. A perfect moment found in an unlikely place. It was also at this moment I realized how badly I had messed it all up. Even when leaving, her hand reaching down and interlocking her fingers with mine so as not to get lost in the crowd, I still knew everything wasn't okay. I must confess I wasn't expecting to meet someone who could grab my attention like that. If I'm being honest I gave up years ago. English is my preferred language, but distance is my first. My playing it safe with her stealing away any chance of future encounters. It was clear to me as I dropped her off that night; I could read it on her face as clearly as you can read this now. Letting an awkward silence stand with a stranger because you think it's funny may not be the smartest thing to do if they aren't in on the joke with you. But this story isn't about sadness or second chances. This is the story of a Phoenix rising moment. She started a sequence of events, events leading to this story. Leading me back to my words. Reminding me of who I am. Lighting a fire in my mind, that despite all attempts, I have been unable to extinguish. As if in that single frozen moment, those colored lights in suspended animation, leaked back into the real world around me. The entire world was bright and alive again. She was a synesthetic experience, causing sounds and words to have color and texture. She told me she flew with wings of her own, and that night she proved it to me. So beautiful stranger, I sincerely thank you for reminding me that beauty is still out there for the finding. And I'm also sincerely sorry for not taking you as seriously as I should have from the beginning. In June I told a woman that I had just started seeing beauty again. Seven months later I was reminded that seeing beauty and experiencing it are two completely different things; and no one needs to wait for the sun to learn that difference.