It all started when I dropped into Catholic Central High School in London yesterday afternoon. I had a fine visit with my friend Stacy and then walked into the classroom of another friend, Lyrinda. There were only a few minutes left in the last period of the day.
As the students were walking out at the bell, I recognized one girl and she knew me. I’ll call her Mary. Years ago, when I was working with a blind child in Grade 7, everyone went over to the church for Mass one day. The Grade 8’s sat behind us. Mary sat directly behind me. The organist began a hymn (I can’t remember the name of it) which had a descant, an optional melody that’s very high-pitched. As I sang in my baritone voice, Mary hit the high notes. There are no words to describe the beauty. I was writing a blog back then (I still am, as you can tell), and I wrote about Mary that night, being sure not to name her in the piece.
Months later, virtually all of my blog posts got deleted by mistake, over a hundred of them. (Sigh) What sadness. Yesterday, I told Mary the story, and how I wish that I had shown her what I’d written. Was her post one of the few that escaped the delete? I didn’t know.
Then Lyrinda and I talked … for over an hour. How she loves her students! She prays with them at the beginning of every class. The teens share worries about loved ones. They share love. Lyrinda and I talked about love, about she and I being emissaries of such. There was no ego in our talk, no “Look at me!” Just friends doing some “big talk”. To be immersed in such communion for an hour was … I don’t know the word, but it was big.
I said goodbye to Lyrinda in the parking lot. As I walked to my car, I knew I was “as high as a kite”. No drugs in my system but something was sure in there! I walked into the post office to mail one of Jody’s books. There was a little roped corridor where patrons line up, with a sign saying “Please Wait Here” at the end. Two employees were behind the counter. The only other customer in the room was off to the side, addressing envelopes. “Come on over, sir.” “But the sign says to wait here. I always do what I’m told.” (Huh?) Soon the woman with the envelopes was ready. I walked to the back of the room and she approached one of the clerks. I was being eyed suspiciously (or quizzically) by the Canada Posters. Over the next five minutes, I returned to the sign again and again, only to retreat when a new person came through the door. Oh my goodness. Am I mentally unstable or just silly? I’m hoping the latter is true. Finally it was just the three of us. A glance back showed me that no cars were parking, no arms carrying packages were approaching the door. So I mailed Jody’s book, to the amusement of the woman taking my money.
I decided to go see a movie – any movie. It didn’t matter which one. I knew there’s usually a film starting around 5:00 at the Hyland Cinema, so I started driving over there. I was on Wharncliffe Road – four lanes and lots of traffic. A bus was ahead of me in the curb lane. I knew what to do, of course. Pull into the left lane and pass the frequently stopping beast. Except I didn’t. I stayed right behind, pausing whenever it did. Oh my goodness again. Why am I doing this?
Kite aloft, I walked into the theatre. I’ll be seeing Preggoland, so said the sign. And I saw it alone. I don’t think I’ve ever been alone in a movie theatre. Do I hear the music of The Twilight Zone? It was a great film, morphing from a comedy about a depressed girl who fakes a pregnancy to something entirely different and sublime. The audience loved it.
Grocery time. As I parked in the Costco lot, I picked up my little black bag of Jody’s books and went inside. I was floating. “Someone in here will want a book,” I promised. After chatting with the pharmacy folks for a few minutes, sharing with them that I was high, I wandered the store, dropping stuff in the cart, and vaguely looking for book recipients. No one. At the checkout, a packing clerk checked out my bag. “I wrote a book.” “Can I have one?” he said. “Sure. My wife died in November and I wrote a book about her. I’m giving them away to anyone who wants one.” The female cashier beside him: “You’re going to make me cry. I’d like one too.” “Of course.” Cue the music.
Homeward bound, with my bread, laundry detergent, bananas, but sadly no fruit tray. Hey Costco! Give us back our fruit. But I wasn’t really bothered by my fruitless endeavour. The world was shining.
Sitting in my man chair, I looked through the hard drives of my old laptop and this new one, searching for the remnants of my ancient blog. I tried entering Mary’s name, but that was silly. I never would have mentioned that in the post. Using all my brain cells, I thought that I had referred to her as an “angel”. No luck there either. In fact, if there were a few posts that had escaped my errant finger, I couldn’t find any. After nearly an hour of this, I gave up. Sorry, Mary.
C’mon, Bruce. One more try. So I typed “school” in the My Documents search window. 42 hits. Scroll and scroll. Here was one called “City of God”. The hymn! Open the file. And there was Mary:
And once again … her soprano blending with my baritone
Like nothing I’ve heard in my life
Like no moment I’ve experienced in the 62 years
I’ve been on the planet
Probably never again
Now that I knew where to look on the hard drive, I saw that only two posts from the days of yore survived – the very first one I wrote, entitled “Time to Write Again” … and Mary’s.
I have a delivery to make next week.