Bent Words

Bent Words

August 05, 2008

There was never a marked moment. There were no tell-tale signs nor were there glints of infatuation to behold within our infrequent and rather professional meetings. There was never a singular day in which an abbreviated gasp of sudden realization passed my lips. No bells tolled the hour, no alarms set off with warning within my brain, no presentiment hailed the path that lie ahead.

It was, however, a slow, innocent progression of pondering beauty and genuine appreciation a lifetime of serenity and toil kneaded together with gentle folds and bold observations. It was a silent reverence wrung out of a chaotic and often vulgar situation.

It was the early morning sun striking through the dirtied checkered windows which somehow fell softly and glistened like a gift upon his dirtied yellow hair; his head bent low and positioned at angle so that the square line of his jaw met the shadows cast up from the floor, a place the light of day never reached. It was the precision of his fingers as he persevered unperturbed by the violent rush of condensed air, the sharp ting-ting-ting of abandoned wrenches and the obnoxious rush of obscenities. It was the occasional tapping of his shoe against the pavement as he made slight adjustments in his crouched position to better achieve his goal of excellence, barely missing the blunt of his knee against his chin. It was how his forehead slightly crowded his face while his eyes squinted in a momentary lapse of uncertainty (or perhaps it was just the smoke of his cigarette briefly masking his view) and the way he only regarded others out of the corners of his eyes when he was employed with an especially trying task. He would eventually abandon his job, however, unfailing in his ability to call the answers to their ceaseless questions.

It was his voice which carried with it the mellow modesty of experience and patience, as though the day were not too short nor the explanation too profound. He never levied his queries with irony or insult and, if he did, they were only greeted with gratitude and hunger. His occasional bursts of laughter were like a prize to be granted to a rare few and there was never a sullied face in the room when this happiness spilled from his lungs. It was just that a privilege, an honor, a joy.

It was not just his outward appearance or the moments I shared in his inward ecstasy, it was the way he stood, with one foot crossed over the other, supporting himself with one elbow in the frame of a door. It was the downward curve of his lips after a long humid day, as though even his mouth were exhausted and slowly setting with the fading sun. It was the pride in his dress and in his step which he carried proudly with him for the duration of a hard hitting Saturday and the way he allowed all propriety to drop (somewhat) when the duties were done. Only then did he allow his shoulders to droop, his eyes to dance with conquest and his hair to fall in errant strands about his face. Only then did he smile freely and exhale minor and major frustrations.

It was just the way he was just the way he was which caught me off guard, which sparked my enthusiasm, which walked relentlessly about my otherwise occupied eyes. The spring in his step, the demeanor of his exhaustion, the ceaseless patterns of his devotion, the unselfish hum of his voice; it was this and all that lie in between and beyond. It was a lifetime of toil and serenity, with all his imperfections, which I could plainly see, wrapped into one perfect person and folded carefully into one unsuspecting heart.


Written at 8:54 p.m.