Friday, March 26, 2010

Conversation over Time

     Late, as usual. I nodded my silent apology to Seth and took my seat. The video was already running. I backed into my seat, already drawn to the subject on the video. I knew the room where the video was taken, Seth, the chair and the position of the camera. The size of the room enhanced the camera’s zoom affect, focusing only on the young girl. Seth would have been to her left, out of sight of the camera but near enough where he could have easily touched her without leaning or shifting his position.
     The video setting oriented in my mind I now focused on the subject. She was probably in her early 20’s and very thin. The color of her eyes wasn’t certain until she looked up, they were blue. The stiffness of that upward head movement let me know that was not going to be common view. She looked fragile and pale and very stiff. Her blue eyes and dark hair were in stark contrast to her pale face.
     “How do you feel? Are you ok?”
     I smiled. I knew that voice, soft, gentle and deep. I quickly glanced at Seth but the recognition went unreturned. He was focused on the video, on her.
     My head snapped back to the video. She spoke. At least I think she did.
     “Do you want me to turn the camera off?”
     The head made a quick left to right movement.
     “What would you like to talk about?” Seth’s question received a quick shrug of the shoulder.
     In that brief instant she had unfolded her arms and glued them to the arms of the chair. I squinted to see if there was any color in her clenched fists. My first reaction was that Seth should have terminated this video interview.
     “Are you hurting?”
     “Would you tell me?”
     My face snapped at the thought that I caught a small smile.
     “Have you ever told anyone that you were hurting?”
     It was a smile and this time it lasted a bit longer. I waited for the silhouette to say “no.”
     Instinctively my eyes squinted and head tilted. That wasn’t right. Everything about her said she would never have let anyone know she was hurting.
     "Did she say anything?”
     "Not at first.”
     “What did she say?”
     This wasn’t right. Everything about her said she was a no talker. Granted, it wasn’t an elaborate conversation, but there shouldn’t be any conversation. Someone that tight, that walled and self protected would not expose her pain. Seth was good but not that good.
     “I cannot stop what you’re driven to be. I will not stop loving what you are.”
     The clenched fists now began to slowly and deliberately rub against her bent thighs as one would rub two sticks together in hopes of creating a fire. My mind continued to rebel against the image I was watching. It wasn’t right. I knew this was the third interview. Should not be at this stage. Out of synch.
     "Did she explain what she meant?”
     She can’t answer. To explain meant she understood. To understand meant she must have let her walls down for this person. That body, those eyes and those fists would never let anyone that close. Why was he focusing on this conversation? This line of questioning could go nowhere.
     For the second time the head looked up and turned to the left. She would have been looking directly at the bodiless voice. “Turn away,” I thought. She’s going to turn away. He’s gone too far too fast. “Turn away” I kept repeating, unsure if the mantra was audible.
     The face looked up and said, “ Janet said, One day I would see both who I was, am and will be and say yes.”
     “No!” I said looking at the face on the video looking at me.
     “What do you mean?” Seth said looking at me.
     “That was not what Janet said.” I replied glaring at Seth.
     “What do you mean?”
     “I don’t think that’s what Janet said. Janet would not have said that.”
     “That’s what you told me she said when we filmed your session.”
     “This is over. I said.”
     The chair fell back. The interview was over. My rigid body became fluid and ran out of the room.
     “Please come back!” The bodiless voice echoed down the hall.
     I grabbed the car door handle. His hand grabbed mine. I’ve no idea how much fear was in my eyes when he grabbed my hands. He knew from the first day I had clearly defined body space walls and never let anyone touch me. He broke the rules. Despite the night I could see every wrinkle in his face as well as his fear. He didn’t remove his hand. His grab turned into a gentle hold and his eyes remained fixed on mine.
     “Why wouldn’t Janet say that?” Seth asked. “I’m sorry. I didn’t know it would hurt so much to watch yourself on the video. Please come back in and I’ll erase the tape. His voice was slow and calculated knowing the risk of one false word or another false move.
     “I can’t.” My hand was permitted to slip out of his. I opened the car door and jumped in. He didn’t move as I raced the car out of the lot.
     Looking up into the rear view mirror to make sure he wasn’t following me, she stared back. The eyes were shallow but no longer fearful. Headlights from the car behind me briefly betrayed tears on her face.
     “That was what Janet said” the face in the mirror whispered.
     “That’s not what she said” I shouted to the mirror face.
     “You’re right. That’s not everything she said. ‘Love who and what you are first. The image you see in the mirror will be the eyes with which you see the world.”

Ain’t the world a beautiful place?