Monday, October 19, 2009

Walking into Stillness



“You know what I loved most about my time there?”

“What?”

“The absence,” she said. “The total absence of all the usual crap.”

“They didn’t have the internet?”

“No.”

“Television?”

“Uh huh.”

“It wasn’t boring?”

“It was a relief. My mind was quiet, free. There was nothing pressing. No advertisements for perfect beaches in the Caribbean. No guilt or desire that stretched my reach. No sense that life was elsewhere. It was here. I was here.” She placed her palm over her diaphragm. “I’ve never experienced a greater solitude. Or been less lonely.”

“But what did you do?”

“I cried at first.”

“Oh.”

“Yeah. Like a baby.”

“Why was that?”

“I’m not sure.”

“Huh.”

“And then I walked. I walked for miles. I walked until I could feel my unhappiness . . . detach. Until I felt all those snarled chains float free.”

Her friend dropped his gaze to her tennis shoes. Some of the seams gaped. A big toenail peeked through.

He cleared his throat.

“So why did you come back to us? To all the craziness?” His voice wavered. “To . . . me?”

She touched his shoulder, but he pulled away. Reaching for a drink on the coffee table.

“You were never a chain,” she said, eyes seeking his. “Never. You were just one of the roots to lead me back home.”

He coughed himself into a blush. Definitely needing a couple sips from that drink.

“If we were in a TV movie, they’d cut to commercial break now,” he finally said.

“True. Women would be crying. Men would be all stoic and strong-eyed.”

“Thank God I’m a man.”

“I embarrassed you,” she said.

“No! I mean . . . no.” He scratched his nose and leaned back into the cushion. “You were just getting all Dalai Lama on my ass there for a minute. That's all.”

She laughed and put a finger over her lips.

“Okay. We never had this conversation.”

“Or if we did, we were stoned.”

“Completely gored out of our heads.”

“High on shrooms.”

“High on love and truth. Truth in love.”

They were silent for a moment. Him sloshing ice cubes in that drink. Palms protecting a chill.

“Why is it so hard to say these things?” he asked quietly.

“It wasn’t," she said. "I wanted to say them.”

He set down the drink and hooked a foot on the opposite knee. Fingers peeling at the tread of his boot.

“Then why is it so hard for me to accept them?” he said.

“I don’t know.”

She smiled at him. He saw it light her eyes.

“But I’m telling you, anyway.”


----

This piece is dedicated to all my friends,
and particularly to The Walking Man
and Cat, whose words and paintings
this week were the light
and inspiration.


13 comments:

Charles Gramlich said...

I know exactly what the lead character is talking about at the beginning. The quiet, the walking. They take you out of yourself, let the world of peace slip in.

Catvibe said...

Aw Sarah, You are always an inspiration to me. :-) This piece reminded me of going to a Vipassana meditation retreat. The peace and stillness I imagine would come of such a practice.

I loved the part of the dialogue that gets light with 'We never had this conversation'... made me smile, and I thought of the playful give and take that intimacy brings. Nice Sarah!

Karen said...

Well, thanks to Cat and TWM for this inspiration! This is some of the finest dialogue I've read in a while. The break-ins and pauses are so natural that one could believe this to be an actual conversation, not imagined but spoken.

For whatever place she went that brought such peace, we should all give thanks.

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

Inspirational, as always. :)

the walking man said...

Welcome to the land of locks that don't lock anything anymore and chains that are left for the scrap man to recycle to something useful like the bridge between the two.

Be Well Sarah, you are needed beauty in the world.

Nevine said...

"Her friend dropped his gaze to her tennis shoes. Some of the seams gaped."

I liked this break in the conversation, the friend's diversion with her shoes. It created a suspenseful moment when I wanted to know if he was going to try and sneak back into her newfound comfort, if he wanted to, if she wanted him to. And the women crying while the men were stoic - an astute observation.

It was excellent, Sarah!

Nevine

Rick said...

What a wonderfully woven piece of writing, Sarah. How lovely to see that there is still art in the written word.

Aniket said...

I read it... re-read it and re-re-read it, trying to figure out how you do it?

This conversation could have so easily drifted to be cheeky and cheesy with one wrong move. But it was so grounded and earthy and intense and inspirational. Just fabulous.

Am in complete awe.

Sarah Hina said...

To everyone:

I appreciate each and every one of your comments. You are all friends, indeed. :)

I hate to be so flighty about blogging lately, but I'm taking another break for awhile. Things are taking a toll, and I need to spend this time taking a non-internet journey for awhile. And hopefully, to advance more on my novel.

I will still be reading everyone's work through Google Reader, and wishing you all well. And I'm sure I'll be back at it soon. I miss you guys too much when I'm away! :)

Billy said...

You are so adept at dialogue! Perfect, as always!

Harman said...

Hi Sarah

Been first time at your blog...Read your blog..was difficult for me to figure out what you have written..read many times as i can...finally got the beautiful wordings used by you in this dialogue...How you describe the present time the person you are talking to..the gesture that is being used...that makes environment come alive while you are reading...perfect!!!..keep it up dear one..God bless you...

TC
Harman

Rose Marie Raccioppi said...

Ever so real - beautifully expressive, direct, and poetic.

"“You were never a chain,” she said, eyes seeking his. “Never. You were just one of the roots to lead me back home.”"

I can just feel the honestly she allowed for herself, setting the tone for him to be more accepting as well.

Delightful!

joaquin carvel said...

"until I could feel my unhappiness . . . detach"

i want to take that walk. beautiful.