In the last three days, three people about whom I care have reached out to have intense conversations with me.  I’ve listened, talked, commented, listened some more, talked some more, reflected, listened, considered, and listened again and more.

I’ve fidgeted and tapped on the floor with my good foot.  I’ve juggled my belongings in one hand and the phone in the other while listening.  I’ve walked down the street with my bag on my shoulder, the phone to my ear, and my eyes a bit glazed.  Multi-tasking eludes me.  Walking and talking? Multi-tasking.  I stop on the sidewalk and people grumble as they move around me while I stand and listen. Stand and answer.  And listen, while the wind whips down the corridor of Oak Street between the courthouse and the old library.  I’m oblivious to the cold as I stand, bag in one hand, phone in the other, listening.

I sit in my car, having arrived at my destination, letting the motor run so I won’t get cold.  I’ve pushed the button to silence the radio.  I’m listening.

I sit in the rocker, knitting  fallen idle.  I listen. Then quietly answer.  I give a few sentences, test the water, tender a few more.  Listen as my words land at the other end.  I listen for the ripples which my words make as they land in the murky and troubled waters.

I close the door to my office, move from my desk to the rocker in the corner, and wait while the person on the other end of the phone moves through grief and I can release the breath I’ve been holding.

For all the people who’ve patiently tolerated my long laments in the last year, I’m paying it forward.  This is my thanks; my gift; my tribute to you.


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