I sat with my new friend L. at this tiny brick-walled café behind the British Museum and words trembled out of me in responsive disorder, answering to her story with splashes of mine, here more articulate, there a bit less so, all depending on the rhythm of each other’s voice and the silent call it made for replies, for more memories to compare, for new thoughts to build upon.
Everyone’s inner language searches for echos in another’s.
So I listened – what would you have done?- I listened to her translation of what she’s been through when she gave everything up to experience the nomad life of deserted mansions and drug addicts and the poetry of the invisible woman who sees everything but who society refuses to look in the eye. And I replied with my own experience of the very visible woman who was looked in the eye by all her lovers but eluded them nevertheless, and left shortly to become their illusion of rushed encounters and hushed goodbyes.
It’s exciting to have someone translate themselves for you in a common vocabulary, like I did with L. and with each of my friends. There’s dimensions they open in the fabric of life that my personal language has yet to reach into and maybe never will – there’s an awareness of other worlds that is shaped by it and gives me such energy to go look for more.
I write so rarely – and when I do, it seems I only chose to write about that – that is the part worth remembering: the lessons I found in the otherness of disclosure.