I dislike the idea of reducing poetry and fiction to first sentences, but this excerpt conveys the emotional intensity and pure lyricism of my journey into the depth of this role. For the last two years, The Lady of Ro has shaped my life in many ways, including opening my heart to the unexpected ways love manifests itself and seeing mundane things in a different light.
Sometimes I ask travellers: ‘Tell me about the world, son’. And they look at me like I’m being a nuisance.
‘What can I tell you about the world, old lady?’, one of them said. ‘It’s a mystery if you never see it, and it’s a mystery if you’ve seen it from one end to the other’.
Well, that upset me, because I knew what they are thinking. They think I don’t understand. That my eyes see nothing but stone walls and dust. As if you can’t make a wish without a star. As if, if you’re away from people, you don’t miss a caressing hand. As if a blind man stops dreaming! What do they think the world is anyway, your uncle’s inheritance, to grab as much of it as you can?
You see, none of them ever asks me anything. I could tell them how to learn to speak about the world. I could tell them about my world. About the rock that the sun bakes and the sea laps. About the rock that doesn’t know if God wants it to burn or to drown.
I could talk about my wild fig tree at the edge of the cliff. The one that grows out of nothing and is wanted by neither gravity nor the sky, that doesn’t deserve to slide into the sea nor to fly off. People look at you and say ‘it’s a miracle’. Their hopes bloom along with you – and you’re left to wonder whether you’d ever bloom in their world, if they would want you in their earth or in their heaven.
I want to show them the seasons of the wind, that breath of the void. The desire to give yourself to anyone, so long as he keeps you alive. What it’s like to beg for a chance to speak. To have so much to say, and find out that the ship’s horn is all they can hear. That’s what I want to explain, that’s my fear. That nobody will ever learn if you had really wanted to tear up everything, or had just been begging for a place to take you in.
Well, big deal, you might say. And you’d be right. Not everything in life is important, and not every one of us counts. What eats me up is that doubt. That perhaps life could be different. That perhaps a poor wretch’s life could be made to count. Because that’s what I learned from the rock, the wild fig tree and the wind.
I learned from the Lady of Ro.