We are writing quite the love story, aren’t we?
It begins in England; it begins in the moors…lands of Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights: lands of smoke and hay. It’s a land we’ve been to, millions of times, millions of dreams, other lifetimes and knowings.
I am here to teach; you are here to live. We meet. It’s a city called Hebden Bridge, known as “the San Francisco of England.” Lesbians everywhere, holding hands. Old, wide, young, thin.
Hebden Bridge: where, on afternoons, soap bubbles blow from that charming soap shop: they say it’s their gift to the city; they say it’s for free. And, every spring, hundreds of plastic ducks on the river…crowds gather to watch the race and rejoice: ice cream, picnics, children, blue skies. This is Hebden Bridge. A place I’m not sure exists.
We are writing quite the love story.
In the beginning is you seated: dark sweater and a scarf you wear. A quiet meditation hall. I don’t know this bowing ritual yet, and so I find my eyes drawn to you, to your beautiful body, as you make the movements. I dip my head reverently to the wooden floor, which represents the Earth; I dip my head and rise my palms for Buddha. (Not in worship but in Yes. A state of connection and calm joy.)
There is no difference between who is bowing and who else. I have Buddha nature, so I bow. You have Buddha nature, so you bow. We bow to All. I keep looking at you. You are always two seconds ahead, to my right. I keep looking at you.
The story begins with your eyes and my heart. With hello, as you try, unsuccessfully, to dodge me. You’ve seen me with the priest…but you don’t yet know I am not his—not anybody’s.
Our story begins with a headache. My headache. I cannot yet face them, the rooms of expectant people. I am tired of eyes looking at me, tired of talking, tired of explaining what seems so obvious. It’s almost time for my book reading, and I’m dreading it.
Just ten minutes in the Zendo, I tell myself. Just ten minutes of meditation: that’s all I need, and then I’ll be better. So, I rise from the bed, shuffle downstairs, and push open the old wooden door.
It is you! You are there! You are already seated, on the old wooden floor. My heart is made of firecrackers. My heart is made of chocolate. In total surprise, I say: You!? We then smile two smiles that seem to join oceans.
We agree to sit together. At the end, you ring the bell, like you always do. You are the keeper of the bell; you are the bell that awakens us. I don’t remember what we talk about then, after we sit, but it’s something that flows. Some minutes pass, and suddenly we remember clocks: they exist. We say we are both reluctant to join them, but we do.
And then the story, well, it really begins with my card, given to you… And then your question: Want to take a walk? …And then, a few streets later, my question: May I kiss you? Your mouth is dry and you laughingly complain. We look around. There’s so much, and suddenly. The moon is big and the river is near. It is the end of summer. I don’t live here, and you do, so you show the way. We walk. I can’t remember if we hold hands at this point. I know that when we get to the bridge, we do. I remember resting my head in your lap. Your hands upon my head, so gently. I tell you I’m a healer. I tell you everything. No secrets, already. We talk of magic. And, after awhile, we walk a bit more, back toward the house. After awhile, you say something—and I fall to the pavement…because what you’ve said collapses time: because my legs, apparently, need time to function. I fall to the ground with ecstasy and with total love.
Back at the house, later, you kneel to write your number on a scrap of paper. While writing, you look up at me. I’m in the chair, so close, legs crossed. You shake your head, disbelievingly, and like a giddy child you say: I don’t know you, but I love you.
We are writing quite a love story, my love. It includes more things. The letters, the emails. The six-hour calls. The orgasms and dances across space and all that seems real. You and I in the forest, that afternoon. Those precious minutes. Back; forth. The label “partner”; the label “friend”; and how all that, eventually, not mattering. The now. The precious now. How your laugh surprises me still; how I’ve heard it all before. Some past life.
How crickets can signal not the end but the beginning of a summer.
How the bird who sings…
is singing for itself. For the song.
Many thanks to Julie Rose Clark, for the sharing of her beautiful painting featured above. Julie is an artist living in Hebden Bridge (West Yorkshire, England). Commissions taken. Learn more at: www.julieroseclark.co.uk
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