There are times when I am a snowball, rolling, catching the snow around me, feeling it stick to me until I feel so laden down that I can hardly move. And there are other times when I am a spring, bouncing from one chore to another, my mind so busy I am unable to finish a task to completion because another is beckoning.
And there are still other times when I am the actor, trying on all the hats, some simultaneously, some for milliseconds at a time, tossing costumes as I throw on the next one. I get into character for just enough time to learn his walk and then it’s time for the next. I’m hardly ever type-cast; can barely remember myself in the midst of the exercise. I look past those around me; those who are dear; I am in a hurry to become my part, in a hurry to fulfill my obligation. I am stuck on set.
I regret these times. I wish to be present. I continue to hurry.
Hearing “ABC” by the Jackson 5, transports me. I am sitting on a large leather couch in a coffee shop that no longer exists. I am sitting with you. The coffee shop is large and airy, exposed-brick walls and large wooden beams. It has that hallmark coffee shop smell – ground beans and baked goods. Typical singer/songwriter music is piped in through the speakers. It is cool but I feel comfortable there next to you. We laugh and talk; we’re catching up. You look strong and confident. I’ve missed that, and I never want the night to end. We’re here because we are old friends who haven’t spoken in awhile and because we’re drawing closer to feeding that elephant in the room.
Our specialty is observing those around us and creating stories. We quietly talk about the people working the counter – two teenagers, a girl and a boy. The boy is a little chubby and unabashedly loud. He has the air of a young person who is working through their self-consciousness by exuding extra confidence. I understand this and appreciate it. The song by The Beatles that was playing ends and “ABC” begins. I haven’t heard the song in years and have never thought much of it. But suddenly the boy steps out from behind the counter and starts dancing. The dance is goofy and flamboyant; he’s doing it for laughs. I’m cynical and would usually roll my eyes, but there is something sweet about this. We look at each other and smile. I suddenly love the song.
Later we step outside. It is April and the rain is pouring. We stand, huddled under the canopy over the coffee shop’s front door, bathed in its light. The rain is literally cleansing, washing dirt and debris from the ground and into storm drains. I watch the small rivers rushing down the gutters, mesmerized by the small eddies created by bigger sticks and rocks.
We pause in this moment, neither of us wanting to run into the rain. The air is still chilly; I stand as close as possible to you without actually touching. I feel magnetized. My skin wants to touch yours; I inhale deeply to be filled with your smell. We stand shoulder to shoulder and I think of your blue eyes and the way you kissed me long ago. I resist touching you though it takes all I have. The moment is delicious.
Strangely, it is this moment from the past, this song, that silly dance, that brings me back.