Bemusement is not a state of mind so much as it is an understanding of who you are, why you are where you are and what you can learn from it. Even a Queen of the Succubi knows that is true…
By TeraS and James
He enjoyed the laugh–completely, utterly, blissfully enjoyed it just for it being there. There are just those moments, rare moments, of pure joy which one can experience if one is content to experience others for who they are and life for what it is without trying to exploit the situation.
On his better days, James could be that kind of person. He always aspired to be.
“I’m not sure how many pay such close attention to me. Nor am I sure how gratified they are by what they learn. Though you seem to be.”
He shifted in his seat, leaning in to the conversation: “I find that I learn about myself in helping others. Which brings me back to you. I suspect you have things to teach me, and there are not many who can make me feel the kind of joy that you have.
“So, help me learn, please: tell me what I may do for you.”
Lacing her fingers together, she rested her chin upon them and explained, “There are those in this world that gain from learning and sharing that with others… In doing so, they find not a calling, but a pleasure in seeing eyes that see, ears that listen and minds that open to… possibilities…”
The smile didn’t fade at all, “I’m one of those. Plus I work cheap which is a bonus I would expect…”
Then she confided in him a small, but vital secret, “If you ask what one needs you can, usually, see those needs within yourself…”
She stayed where she was and then, after a moment’s consideration which also included a click of her tongue against her cheek she replied to the question that really did matter, “I would like to understand something that has always, if not troubled me, certainly confounded me… And it is something that, I think, not one single being on this planet has been able to figure out to any degree of complete and total understanding.”
Tapping her fingers against her lips, she ended with, “But before I speak my mind, what does yours think?”
His was beginning to think that, as delightful as she was, as much as he enjoyed the sound of her voice, the two of them were slipping into a socratic centerfuge of sorts, answering questions with questions, continually circling, with no way of moving forward unless one of them made a statement. This meant conceding a bit of control, taking a tiny risk, but one that he was sure was worthwhile.
So he spoke: “My mind thinks that yours is vast and impressive, and I should like to get to know it better. Please close your eyes and imagine with me.” Her eyes closed along with his, and he took her hands into his own. “We are in a large Garden. It is late summer, and pleasantly warm, but not humid, and there is a gentle breeze. The trees along the path are heavy with fruit, and we can her some songbirds among them. There is a charming, mid-size hound dog running rather playfully at our feet, occasionally scampering down the path a bit before running back, as if beckoning us to follow her. Just over the rise, we can see the rooftop of a cottage that must be on the shore of the lake we see in the distance. Now, open your eyes.”
She did, just as he did, and they saw the whole scene around them; their seats were the last bit of the library visible to them. “Just as I thought,” he said. “No one has ever been as vivid in their imagining with me as you.
“But you had a question to pose,” he continued, even as their surroundings reverted to the library, “and I am most anxious to hear it.”
My heart is a flatterer, but he is my heart nonetheless…