|The Pleasure of Fishes|
In my Taoist Tai Chi Larry’s the teacher I gravitated to. I was ready; he appeared; it demonstrates my favorite teaching cliché.
Inside my grief I flinch and reach for a name. Pam? No, I’ve never been sure, it’s the same as the woman’s who cuts my hair, but now, behind fashionable lenses, blue smiling pretty eyes and crowsfeet, and it's not the same woman. She’s smiling in a place I’d’ve never dreamt to bump into her.
I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to startle you.
“Hey,” I say softly. I reach for a little grace and say, “Well I guess you must’ve cut Larry’s hair?”
Hmmm... I cut his hair that morning.
Yes, the day he….
Yes, the day he….
I’m confused and words ballooning in my brain will not speak their way out. What is this woman’s name! My embarrassment sloshes beside my sadness beside my isolation holding back my black dog. I know this woman and I can not recall her name?
How d’you know him?
“We do, did, Taoist Tai Chi together. I practice, practiced with him; he’s a terrific teacher.” I bounce to and fro in present and past.
Jackie, yes, that’s it, may’ve been the last person to touch his hair…how odd. Cutting hair, just then, seems intimate…. She’d’ve been sure to sense the Tao and to know his ease and spirit within. Jackie’s eyes look in then down. I need more, quickly now it’s a gift.
Sadness flows out in my words,
“Years ago my brother died, suddenly, very quickly, and… and we were shocked; knocked out. His death left a hole. Larry’d filled it. I didn’t know it!” I dissolve and slump shoulders and relax in release. Blue and brown eyes look into one another and Jackie’s palm touches my arm, and we sigh our sadness in the emptiness I offer up in the moment while we stroll to cars. She hadn’t expected that.
Well… See ya’ later.
Is it Pam? Gosh, I can’t recall! We part.
Larry appeared and I learned. I watched the Tao play in his Tai Chi. I imitated practicing his play. We played in momentary movement micro-bits together through time. We were not close in any extended way; we seemed to meet in practice and play of Taoist Tai Chi. It was just bits, something in the open lean easy manner, eyes and wit pointed at me, smiling into me, he invites me into smiling my laughing out loud. Not many have that gift; I look serious and sour.
“Once I tended bar on Saturday mornings,” he said to the mostly male players. “I called it sour hour.”
“Let’s see if he takes the corner,” to gathered players as I entered late and last. “He did,” he exclaims laughing out loud, all in release and relief. At me, at him, at all of us, with all of us, for all of us who fear the corner. Really, there's nothing to fear at all.
“Lower your elbows.”
“Don’t work to hard.”
“Relax your shoulders.”
Larry appeared. I was ready.
No, not many like Larry Coleman.