Wandering through the fall days longing for an answer to a question he hasn’t formulated yet, but wondering each day what’ll happen the next. He looks for an out from a dark place, his only respite enjoyed on his bike, riding in the cool air, feeling the slight warmth of the sun on his face. And writing, putting pen to paper the old way, trying to keep up with the voice in his head as he scribbles in an old hand made leather bound book he crafted himself. He is lonely, he is worried and he feels trapped.
On a sunny Saturday morning he walks into his writing group, it’s located in the midst of many cultural shops throughout the Global Market in Midtown. It is still early but the sounds of many of the shops and restaurants begin to echo throughout the indoor market like a cacophony of a tinny instrumental. The tables in the restaurant the group meets in have already been formed into a large square to accommodate the slowly, quietly arriving writers. They all take their seats in their favorite places below the early sunlight flowing in between the blinds in the large window. And they patiently wait for their turns to read and listen to each other’s stories, rhymes and reflections of their internal hymnals.
This is his place, his saving grace; there is no judgment here, no criticism, no dishonesty and no harm. It is a place for him to divulge his pain in an artistic manner, to spill over his dreams and nightmares, it is here that he learns to carve out a space for honesty and truth without repercussion, to offer himself in a way that others feel and hear and welcome without prejudice. It is here that he met her.
He removed his jacket and gathered a cup of coffee and sat at the table facing the window. He looked around at the others, there were a couple of people he hadn’t recognized and always made it a habit to welcome those he didn’t know whom might be new, however the moderator begun and we began to write. As he listened to those whom chose to read he was enjoying each word, each transitional phrase, he enjoyed each person’s individual method of sharing the secrets they held closely outside of this group. He was fascinated by their personal narratives and their anecdotes.
Then he heard her voice, and he turned to watch her as she read aloud. There was something different about her, different then the idea he had of her when he saw her initially. She read with a bold honesty and integrity, but there was more than that, as he watched her read she periodically looked up over her book at him, he began to hear something else in her tone, there was a parallel dialogue between them that no one else was privy to and he hung onto every word. She read from a place somewhere no one else was allowed to be, someplace she kept herself safe, a place in the shadows between her hurt and her struggle to stay alive. And he recognized it; he felt the coolness of the darker recesses. He saw the isolation and seclusion behind her eyes.
He would introduce himself to her during the break, flustered and flushed, he awkwardly spit out something incoherently, but she understood him and felt a draw from somewhere he was protecting but wouldn’t yet let her see. They shook hands and exchanged numbers and in the feel of her soft, delicate palm inside his strong, calloused grip there was something shared, something they would continue to feed and watch grow. Two people who felt lost in a world of darkness, found a light in a place they felt drawn to be. They would find a way to invite each other into their world, into their shadows and battle the cold with united warmth, warmth derived from an assembly of what is left of the embers that have continued to burn deep inside each of them. Together, hand in hand they would lean into the cool fall air, and build new fires, new dreams and go on wild and fantastic adventures.