A Night in the Window

“Say that again,”  he said.

Interrupting her sip of beer, she replied,   “mm – say what?”

             “- Say whatever it was you said, because it made a perfect arc between our lips.” 

She just smiled, looking over the top to her bottle,

 “…and THIS is your prelude to a kiss?  And what if love fell like rain from the clouds?” 

He revealed a quick soft smile, for her question was as good as a kiss, and lifting his glass to his lips, he paused,

“…well, that would make you a six year old girl in a new dress and shoes walking down a street filled with mud puddles…”   

She understood.  “Yep, I’d jump in every one!”

The next morning he woke before her, brushed away a trestle of hair and kissed her softly on the cheek.  He rose and made his way to the computer and wrote this as a study of certainty vs. uncertainty in ascertaining the Meaning and Purpose of Life:

…I mused last night…on the meaning of life and what leaves me with the most certainty… that being both birth and death; as well as that which gives me the least certainty, the life that falls in between. And we unfurl parchments of love, like recipes conjured through charts and maps by wayfaring spirits in their navigation of uncertainty; with it’s pendulous swells and troughs, writhing storms to the curved horizon of placidity. In our ecstasy or agony, whichever compels us to reach to the heavens for answers, from the black firmament, rains down the white light of stars. Besotted with beauty, we invent our own answers – swinging angrily at our own words, despairing, disillusioned or disinterested. It is not what we hear, but that we listen – “purpose” is the captain of our ship. The journey is long, and the captain seeks only the safe passage of moments in the timeless sea of uncertainty. The meaning of our lives is unveiled through the examination of purpose in others…the mirror of meaning.

From my dinner table by the window I watched the ambling and noisy passerby’s – and I became deluded by my own idea that happiness is an infrequent preoccupation of life, a proverbial “comma” to a long-winded sentence; a quick paradise of dust kicked up by God stepping through the desert. I thought how a moment of happiness seems to pass so quickly and yet, how our disappointments seem to echo through deep valleys of consciousness. As life progresses there is this proclivity to toil with the recollection of our sadness, leaving us amidst a talus of strife. I asked myself, could it be that the altar of happiness is built on the ruins of sorrow? That the happiness we deserve is measured by the high mark of our grief – and oh how we labor the years to build those layers…

I sat still in the crossfire of clanking from silverware on china. I was peering out into the street through the window, compelled by the din of diners and their thick and expanding cacophony of uncertainty. I leaned closer to the glass, and with bleached out emotion, looked up at the clouds drifting en echelon. I can still make out their blushing in the moonlight, disappearing behind tall building rooftops. Mesmerizing…one wave after the other, lost.

There in the restaurant, something odd began to happen. A break in the mottled night parade of clouds reveals a chorus of stars fading into view until such clarity. Each winks in the implicit silence of heaven and the voices around me begin to rescind. All presence in the room dissipates into the shadows and my eyes fill with starlight as I clench the captains wheel. I could tell that life was about to deliver me into another moment of certainty in an ocean of doubt and I could feel my ship list in the wake while waves leap through the stanchions. Where is my beacon in this night – and how could I be lost in the promise of certainty at a moment like this. Holding fast, the winds whip the sheets and whistle through the halyards; all the while the stars wink on. I was at sea. The darkness hurling everything mystery could offer, I deflected peril with rationale, fought one fear with another greater fear. I leaned forward on the wheel, turning the bow into the wind – keeping my knees slightly bent for balance. The ocean heaves in slow motion like the rising and falling chest of Neptune deeply dreaming. The clanking of swivels and bolt-snaps against the mast tap out a persistent “mayday, mayday” – its slapdash beat is a sweet companion but I’m certain no one hears it but me. And I begin to wish for company even more so than for the seas to calm.

I’m shaking while the ships clamoring rises in chaos – there is no chance she’ll capsize I hear an imaginary voice say. I holler back, “I know! I know!” With my eyes clenched shut to the guiding stars, I pray fiercely as my own self-induced darkness starts to take it’s toll on my spirit. And amidst the rush I begin to make out the faint pulse of the dining room and their murmurs growling through the gusts. I can no longer bear it and my eyes and hands spring open, the wheel slips from my grip and spins furiously, the ship comes about quickly, and the room lurches. I shudder back to reality at the sound of a window rattling – a group of kids run off laughing, they were pounding on it to stir my attention. I was uncertain where I’d been and for how long.

Wincing my eyes to bring the street lamps into focus, I could almost hear their hum of electricity. From across the street, I could feel the amber glow coming from the inside the window at Café Montserrat. I’d returned. I‘d returned. I was here in the “now” with this elusive sense of enlightenment only hinted at by subtle signs of tiny flames lit and rising within my heart. And at that moment, “certainty” happened. Looking out, I saw her, in the window of the café, looking back at me. Transfixed in the moment, her eyes had been locked on mine, twin-cased stars glimmering through deep mahogany brown. In that moment, destiny unraveled in 15 meters and a split second. Gazing through the transparency of the pedestrians passing between our windows, we recognized each other through our journey and I looked up at the stars and then back to see her doing the same – and her eyes returned to mine, filled with tears, that fell as our smiles quivered like crying and laughing all at once.

…For some the meaning of life is spoken in silence over dinner plates… it’s purpose, clinked into realization between toasting wine glasses. For others, it is to see deeply into our present and to sail the pulsing stars, to find beauty in momentum and embrace our presence in the window to the lives of others. Wherever we are heading, is kindly guided by the certainty of where we are now.

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