He heard a sound so familiar: a haiku story

a sound from above

 

he heard his name called

from a distance but not far

warm and tender thought

~~~~~~~~~~Naturally her. Gentle. Firm. Hope overflowing from every pore if sound has pores. He heard a sound so familiar that for a moment he thought he was at home seeping hot coffee reading new poems at his favorite armchair settling down to his much loved routine of living normalcy with familiarity. Looking through the audio files in his external travel backup he has found an unnamed file today. The sound that comes through surprises him pleasantly. She is reading a book, chapter by chapter. Like she is standing at the podium, casually lifting up her head from time to time, her long thick black hair blown and somewhat ruffled under the twirling ceiling fan, occasionally smiling with her large, dark eyes that could speak countless words just by looking so intensely at the awe-struck audience. “The Kingdom of God –Chapter One,” she reads effortlessly with a certainty and assurance that comes only with her cool confidence and belief of the subject. The voice. He remembers the first time they met. Newly returned to his home country after a long and weary corporate posting far faraway he was invited to a fund raising function. Formal and crowded with important guests. Having been cramped in an economy class cabin due to unavailability of business class then, flying and not sleeping for over twenty hours, he arrived late straight from the airport, decided to stand near the door as all seats were taken and he thought perhaps he could slip away without being noticed. An elderly clergy went up the stage and said a prayer. After that she walked to the center of the platform from the backstage. A very young woman with long black hair in her early twenties in a comfortable white cotton dress with blue waves at the fringe. He was too far to see her facial features clearly but he thought he needed to hear her out because he was drawn to the voice as she spoke the first sentence. He stood there for about two hours because of the voice. There was kindness in her voice. When he closed his wearied and heavy eyelids he heard a lifting kindness. Like a gentle hand lightly holding a tired, cold, weathered, scarred with old wounds and bleeding with fresh wounds seagull who had lost its way at the vast ocean, fell and swept ashore, flown inadvertently inland and too far home, and crashed in from the storm, the voice said, “Don’t be afraid. Come to me. I will give you rest.” The deepest part of his wound-up soul which he thought he had secreted into a forgotten treasure chest sealed and hidden so well was suddenly exposed, unlocked, touched, unraveled and the thick opaque veil on his hardened heart lifted. He could not help but walking toward the stage, nearer and nearer, spurred by an anticipation that drew out every effort from a tired body that silently and sensibly advised, “Go home, and go to bed!” He just wanted to say “hello” to her, shake her hands, thank her for her efforts for all those lost people, and perhaps look into her large dark deep pupils that smiled at him so kindly. Perhaps as habitual in his profession condescendingly, “You seem too young to be doing this,” he practiced in his mind. Or should he say affectedly, “Thank you so much for all the little homeless children”? Or simply bluntly and honestly, “I like your voice!” He practiced and revised many times before he had the courage to go and shake her hands and introduced himself. He was being presumptuous he thought. Did he look preposterous and out of place in his rumpled executive suit dragging a suitcase? What did she see? An anonymous stranger of indeterminable age who was obviously out of place in that crowd. What did she hear? Some cliché words or sentences which real meaning she did not have time to digest. What did she expect of him? Really nothing much. Many hands she shook. Many kind and appreciative words she heard. The rain came. Heavy armored thundering battalions of horses and chariots marched down from heaven, drowning out every mortal sound. People were leaving. She was surrounded and protected by her admiring friends and they shielded her to her vehicle and drove off. He did not speak to her after all. But he found out her name and her profession. O yes, even her age. Her friends had hurried her off to celebrate her 29th birthday. Not as young and juvenile as he had first thought but still half a generation away from him. What can he ever say to her? What words did her generation use? What words could a man from the forties speak to a woman of the sixties? What could they have in common? He called a cab and left the hall alone in the silence of his mind. The year was 1992.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
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