I could’ve been doing things — especially since it was Wednesday and I had Wednesday things to do. Wednesdays are always my busiest. I could’ve been doing things, but I didn’t. I sat on the cork yoga mat on the floor of my bedroom listening to the podcast episode we recorded before the world was infected with COVID. Before I had to postpone the festival. Before I didn’t walk into the spaces that really feel like home and teach to the people who really feel like family. I could’ve been doing Wednesday things, but I didn’t. I sat there, listening with anticipation of the words I already knew were coming, waiting for the stories I already knew the endings to.

I sat there in exquisite stillness for most of sixty-four minutes, rising only for the occasional handstand to flow my blood and loosen my hips. I listened to her voice, elegant and rhythmic — like music, really — as she asked the easier questions. I heard myself give answers — full, rambling, honest answers. It was practice for the inevitable evolution of the conversation. I wasn’t nervous, anymore. Why would I be? The chatter had begun and concluded months ago. Forming cohesive thoughts and then articulating them was past. Sitting on the cork yoga mat not doing Wednesday things was present.

And none of that last bit is true. It’s just what I told myself because I wanted to not be nervous.

Her voice, elegant and rhythmic like music, delivered more questions, and I continued to practice answering. Her voice, elegant and rhythmic like music, grew cheery — effervescent, almost — as we wound through a shared love of yoga and community and such, making openness easier. It was brilliant strategy, whether intentional or not, as it all but rendered the microphone invisible to me. Then… then, her voice, still full of elegance, slowed to deliberation. To that of an empath who is choosing each word as though each word is the most important one in that snapshot of time — as though they could hold just as much contextual meaning whether strung together or hanging in the air individually.

Would I choke on them?

Slowly, with deliberation, the microphone reappeared. It never left, really. Remember that she distracted me with talk of yoga and community and such. But slowly, with deliberation, the microphone reappeared as the empath sitting cross-legged in front of me used her carefully chosen words to move out of neutral conversation territory. I won’t say it here. I can’t. I’ll leave the gap between your eyes and your screen undisturbed and let you eavesdrop on our chatter when you can stand the curiosity no longer.

She’s good, though — this girl with an elegant voice who performs microphone magic while asking her questions. She has this way about her. I hate that sort of sentence. It seems vague, but it isn’t. It’s just nearly impossible to articulate — or nearly impossible for a girl who has allotted all of her words to a sixty-four minute podcast episode, at least. In any case, she has this way. A charm, perhaps. A charm, but not the sort that warns you off. Just the opposite, actually. It slips out from her smile accidentally, quietly permeating the space around you until you only have enough words to describe it as “this way.” That’s how good she is.

She was good for me. This was good for me — this practice in telling my story to friends I don’t know yet and strangers I’ll never meet. Her relentless kindness met my relentless fear, and they held hands through an afternoon of sweet, sweet conversation; and, as I sat on my cork yoga mat in exquisite stillness eavesdropping on our chatter, I, for sixty-four minutes, let that be one of my Wednesday things to do.

Originally published at https://talesofgritandgrace.com on May 1, 2020.

teacher | storyteller | bourbon drinker | lover of dogs & words

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