by cheri sabraw
If I could sprinkle you with pixie dust, hastening your flight to enlightenment (I might add) and bestow upon your gentle soul one quality that will invigorate your heart and vitalize your mind, I would.
Instead, I am escorting you inside a fragile old storefront disguised by dusty windows and translucent gossamer curtains. I turn the worn brass knob on the door and push forward with some concerted effort. A bell attached to the knob tinkles; the walnut floors, long overdue for a staining, whine at the pressure you apply. You, with your stylish heels, remind me to step lightly or better yet, fly.
We meet the proprietor, an old woman with few wrinkles and almond-shaped dark eyes, wearing a shimmering talisman that rests comfortably on her ample bosom like a golden egg resting in a large nest.
She asks who you are and you tell her.
“I am a distinguished engineer who designed the bridge across the street from your store. It’s funny (not really, I think)—I’ve never noticed your sign outside before or spent any time wondering what product you sell or anything. Why, I must have walked by this store a thousand times on my way to the hair dresser or to my office.”
She asks what you are thinking and you tell her.
“ Not much, really. I’m so busy, what with calculating the loads, bickering with the architect, and considering whether to use steel or wood, I’m usually consumed with the pedestrian and I don’t mean a human on foot. I do think, however, of dinner and what I will prepare and how much salt to use.”
She asks what motivates you in life and you blank out.
“ You know, I’ve not considered my purpose in life. I do know that I love to play solitaire on my iPad.”
And then the silence in the curio shop overtook both of us. A tabby cat padded by and sniffed your ankles.
I felt awkward, only desiring intimacy, so I spoke to you in my invisible voice. I murmured, “Have you ever wondered about or tinkered with or imagined the great mystery that is the life experience?”
It must have been the hot tea brewing in the corner of the shop, the Madeleine cookies, the porcelain teacups, the diminutive silver spoons, but whatever the reason, you spoke back to me in your own silent voice.
“No, I haven’t considered the mystery of life. I have no curiosity that I know of. How do I nurture my curiosity?
My heart swelled. It seemed that yours did too. The three of us sat down to tea on a petite table among the curios. That seemed to be a good place to start, I thought.