3/7/10

Heat rises

I pass him on my way in and he's intent on his anger. He brushes by me repeating, I hate this I hate this I hate this. We share a moment of his pain on the sidewalk and I'm rattled by the heat of rage rising up the skin of his neck.

I come in to the warmth of the smell of coffee and sugar. I sit down and breathe and I think Oh humanity.

~~~

It's a blind date
, I think. His leg pumps up and down with his nerves while he lifts his mug. He says something she seems to be confused by and so she says something about his priorities. It's a joke, but he swallows the lump in his throat while the heat rises to his face and his leg bounces faster with his fake laugh.

There's an awkward silence and then she asks how big his family is. They small talk.

Oh humanity.

A man tries to hand off his newspaper to someone walking by, he says I'm done, it's yours. She asks which paper it is and hands it back quickly when he answers. She says, I already read that one and walks away without a no thank you. He looks defeated, his kind gesture slighted, the heat in his cheeks.

Oh humanity.

He's trying to speak over the shrill sound of the steamer and right when the sound stops he says the word sobriety. His wife shushes him and looks around, checking for ears with the heat in her cheeks. I dart my eyes and inside I say, that's part of the problem.

Oh humanity.

A song plays,
And all we are, we are.
And every day is the start of something beautiful.
And in the end nothing stays the same.


She has folders and papers clipped together in piles and a large iced coffee. She looks worn, tired to the bone with her eyes on the words on her laptop, never looking up. She's think think thinking, unaware. Her phone rings and she makes it quick, eyes to the screen. She's driven with a passion for something, like emotion's heat to the cheeks.

Oh humanity.

~~~~~

I start to think about something from earlier in the day, about her, and I drink my tea. I think about the way she caught up with me in the parking lot. How she thanked me for some careful and unsure words I had spoken moments before, and then I thanked her for thanking me. I gave the credit to the teachers in my life for the words I shared because I can't claim them as mine. I shuffled, eyes darting, swallowing the lump in my throat, feeling the heat rising in my cheeks. She shoved something toward me and said here's an envelope. I looked down to see her name and number and felt the grace in the moment. She said she's been sober for 25 years and I answered with January 20th. We both stood there in the unity of it, and it was good.

Oh humanity.

His leg is still bouncing, but less and she's sitting on her hands. They smile a shy smile of new and she's looking right at him with a beam of light in her eyes. The heat rises to their cheeks and they glow.

A man and his grown son sit down at the table where the shushing woman and her husband once were. Dad says do you want some of this and they share a dessert. His son listens and listens while his Dad talks and talks about his health, his blood sugar, while eating dessert. The son tries gently to persuade his father to watch what he eats. I know, his Dad says while the heat rises to his cheeks and they laugh like they understand each other. A loud chuckle-soft chuckle-loud chuckle-sigh, the laugh that men share.

Two women sit together at a tall table, looking like they might tip over with intensity. They are telling their stories, the things that mean the most, and listening like women do. They are comfortable and understood and their cheeks stay the soft red warm of acceptance.

Oh humanity.
The heat rises and it reveals
and we are caught.
We're all the same.
Blushing with our pain and joy
and sharing it,
our hearts rising up and showing themselves
if not on our sleeves,
then in our faces.

36 clicked right here to comment:

Susie Q said...

I love this. Such a beautiful post! And you've painted such an accurate picture of that in just a few words.. <3

xx

Ronda's Rants said...

Thank you! I don't have much time these days...y'know...but I am so very glad I made time for this! I wish I could write like you because I feel as you do...:)

Ann's Rants said...

This read like a song.

Kazzy said...

Oh Humanity. all right. The hurting, the healing. You snapped a little photo here. thanks so much!

simplicity said...

Beautiful, Heather. Oh, humanity is right on. Right on.

happygeek said...

Love it.
Up and down, it's all part of humanity.

Roban said...

beautiful...

Lindsey said...

My cheeks flush reading this, my humanity rising with the heat. Thank you for this gorgeous rendition. I love the world through your eyes.
Also, 1/20 is Whit's birthday, so while that obviously has nothing to do with anything, I like to think of it as a small signal of grace, new beginnings, births.

Corinne said...

That's my moms birthday (the 20th). She's claimed it's the best day of the year for... well.. a lot of years now. Maybe she's right.
This was lovely Heather. I'm all choked up over it. The moments captured, spied.

L.T. Elliot said...

You're incredible, Heather. The feeling in this, the honesty and the depth. Just...thank you

Cynthia said...

Lovely post. I'm so glad I got to read it today. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Oh goodness ... this got to me -- you got to me and for that, I want to thank you. (Even for the hot tears streaming down my face...)Destiny

DeNae said...

I was right there with you, Heather. How do you do that? Even with the poetic structure, how do you take me with you? Such a gift. And you're such a treasure.

Jamie @ Six Bricks High said...

I'm both impressed and inspired by you and your writing!

TKW said...

Loved this piece.

Tricia (irishsamom) said...

LOVED, loved, loved it. You transport me to exactly where you want your reader to be - to the heart.

Tricia : )

Meredith said...

Thank you for noticing all of this. And then for taking note of it and sharing it. There is value there, even apart from the beautiful way you wrote about it.

Sara @ Domestically Challenged said...

We pass by and see so much in our lives, don't we? However, it is scary sometimes what we don't see in humanity. How we let these little things become blind to us, how we miss the little looks, the lost looks in other's eyes- we let ourselves fall asleep to ourselves and the world around us. I love you are open to it, affected by it and touching on it. It is the only way to change.

Dedee said...

Well said, Heather. This is a beautiful post.

kirsten said...

this is just.... lovely. It wasn't sad, but still made me want to weep a little.

You have such a gift. When I grow up I'm hoping to see the world thru eyes like yrs.

Natika said...

That was beautiful Heather.

Kimberly said...

You are a poet. Truly.

wendy said...

You write so well.

april said...

Beautiful words.

Rebecca said...

Heather, this is one of the most beautiful posts I have ever read. I love the feeling, the depth.

Heather said...

so very true

alita said...

"A loud chuckle-soft chuckle-loud chuckle-sigh, the laugh that men share."

I know this laugh. I know it well. Great visuals. It was such a heart rending post.

Keyona said...

Girl. You are truly talented. That is all.

maggie, dammit said...

There is more humanity on this one page than I see most anywhere.

Beautiful.

LutherLiz said...

Beautiful.

Kelly said...

Your words are exquisite as always, but painful and sad, too. Makes me want to see more, to feel more, to know more.

Kelly Langner Sauer said...

SO beautifully written - this brought tears...

emmajames said...

This is so beautiful, it brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for articulating many of the thoughts I have on a daily basis as I sit in coffee shops and observe... oh, humanity. Raw, no?

sanjeet said...

Beautiful, Heather. Oh, humanity is right on. Right on.

Work From Home

SupahMommy said...

You are an exquisite writer.

Kudos.
xoox
supah

LisAway said...

SO AWESOME.

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