Amid strangers friends, great trees and big seas breaking,
let love move me. Let me hear the whole music,
see clear, reach deep.
--Hope, Phillip Booth
She started up the hill and right towards me. The sun was beating down, oppressively hot, upon my head. My dark hair soaked up every bit of warmth. My scalp began to burn. The sun had burned up any possibility of a cloud in the gaping sky. My sweat had soaked the back of my white dress; and stained the seams with salty yellow.
She approached me so peacefully, a messenger of grace. She sounded like freshly cut tulips and stainless steel kitchen appliances. She smelled like springtime in South Bend.
I've seen you here before, she said.
I'm not from around here, I countered, much too quickly.
She stared at me, but didn't answer.
I've actually never been here before, I protested, in earnest.
She kept looking at me, but didn't answer. Why have I seen you before? she asked, puzzled, addressing her question more to herself than me. I didn't answer, but kept twisting the daisy chain in my hand over and over through my fingers.
I think I know you, she said that day upon the hill. I think that you and I have met before. We've met in quiet white houses, decorated with peonies and chant. We've met on sunny slopes with children, dogs, and daffodils. We've met here, in sacred circles lined with sycamores.
We've met three times, and I know you now. But why?
I don't know, I responded miserably.
I am tired of searching for meaning in mundane moments.
I'm sick of sifting through the banal encounters for
a grain of something grand.
Perhaps we have met for no purpose larger than the coincidences that set your steps in motion the moment your feet leave your bed. And no larger reason than that your path happened to intersect with mine, and we shared a table and a story for a few brief moments. And that is it now. We are severed from one another, both cut apart and adrift in the flotsam and jetsam of occurrence.
Why do you insist on finding narrative, when there is none? Why do you find symbols where there are only signs? And why do you hope to puzzle out the meaning of the cipher, when it is clear there is only nonsense, broken algorithms, and harsh master probability?