My wife’s a poet. And I met her at a reading. I was reading this short depressed (but funny) piece I wrote called The Green Roller Skate. And she said, “I loved your piece.” And I thought, Damn, she’s good-looking. I told her I wrote at Starbucks and did she want to join me sometime. “Yes,” she said. And I went all liquid inside. We met at Starbucks and just talked, for hours, and shared some of our writing. I read her a piece I’d written called Heaven Scent about a guy on a park bench wishing he had a special “ray gun” to make women want him. She listened, looking gorgeouser and gorgeouser, and said— and I’ll never forget it—“Your words are your ray gun.” Hot dang! We each had to go out of town and were apart nineteen days and wrote eighty pages of emails back and forth, each one deeper, riskier, and more romantic than the last. Around email three (she told me later) she thought--This guy could be The Guy. Thank God we were apart all that time. Otherwise, I would have blown it--coming over too often, wanting to show her my third-grade spelling trophy. I was sixty when I met Elya. And I’d given up all hope of ever finding “the one.” So yeah--words were our love language. And still are. Every day I make her a card. I draw her a picture and write a little vignette. I’m up to card two-thousand-seven-hundred-and-forty. They’re quirky, philosophical, poetic, funny. They’re me. Every night I tell her I love her as we kiss good night. And every time we eat, I say, “May our love grow.” Love takes work. But it’s not work. It’s not work at all. And I’m the luckiest guy on earth. What if I hadn’t read that time at Beyond Baroque? What if I hadn’t gone into the lobby at intermission at the very moment she was standing there all by herself pouring a cup of water? What if she hadn’t come out into the lobby seconds before? What if I hadn’t written The Green Roller Skate? What if she hadn’t liked it? What if she hadn’t said it was so real and funny and honest. Years earlier I’d written that someday I’d be speaking in front of a group of people and a woman in the fourth row back would see past all my clever defenses and see the real me. And that’s exactly what happened. Except, she wasn’t in the fourth row back. That was thirteen years ago. At a time when I’d given up all hope. But miracles happen. Words are miracles. Words turned my life around. And, now, I don't have to “believe” in God to know there is one.
© Jon Pearson 1-29-2023
She has daddy all to herself is the thought I had as I watched this four-year-old girl having breakfast with her father. I was sitting by myself at a table against the wall in this posh, high-ceilinged, hotel dining room in Philadelphia: white tablecloths, chandeliers, tall windows looking out on the street. And there she was, this little girl, playing with a piece of bread in a look-at-me-daddy sort of way. She had turned the piece of bread into an airplane and was making little swooping motions. And sitting there, in what looked like a pink ballet outfit, arching her back and kicking her legs which didn’t reach the floor, she had her father’s complete attention. She had him all to herself. And knew it.
As a grownup, we forget how big little was. When we’re little, there’s almost no such thing as little—everything’s big. And big isn’t something you measure. It’s something you feel. It’s intricacies and dimensions you can’t explain. The “daddy” she has all to herself might as well be a hundred miles across. He’s a kind of everything. And why shouldn’t she have all his attention? She’s at the center of the world. She IS the center of the world—CREATOR OF TIME. Not quantity time—the time that exists in our heads—the time the world calls “time.” But quality time—the time that exists in our bones, the time we’re practically made of, the time that, like taste or smell, can’t be measured or spelled out but forms the “world” through which we see and hear and feel the world.
Once upon a time, space itself was time. It was time as time was “meant” to be. Where an airplane made of bread moving this way and that could create magical space and magical time in the magical zone before our eyes. The little girl was carving the air with a piece of bread, creating space within space, and time within time, and worlds within worlds—all within the undivided warmth of her father’s love. It was twenty years ago. And, for sure, she’s forgotten it—that little time, that time of times, when she had daddy all to herself. But time remembers. Not passing time, the time that flows over us, but the fullness and intimacy of time, the time at the heart of each of us. Something in her will remember even now the time when she was “all there was” and her father was “all there was”—when a moment of time was time itself or time herself—not a “span” of time—but a “seed” of time—a deep down feeling of Love or God that grows still—long after she’s forgotten.
© Jon Pearson 2-5-2023