By Anya Light
In the beginning, you are seated for meditation. Zazen. You wear a dark sweater and scarf. I notice how tall you are, how slender.
And then we begin to bow. I don’t know this ritual yet, and so I find my eyes drawn to you, as you make the movements. I dip my head reverently to the wooden floor, which represents the Earth. I dip my head and rise my palms for Buddha. (Not in worship—but in Yes!)
Yes, quiet meditation hall. Evening. England. This bowing. And there is no difference, now, between those who are bowing and those who are sitting or moving in this room in other ways. We all Are. I have Buddha nature, and so do you. I bow, watching you. You are always two seconds ahead, to my right. I can’t stop looking.
The story really begins with a headache. My headache. I cannot yet face them: the crowds, the rooms of expectant people, here to hear about my book. I am tired of talking.
Just ten minutes in the Zendo, I tell myself. Just ten minutes of meditation: that’s all I need. So, I rise from the bed, shuffle downstairs, and push open the wide wooden door.
It is you! You are there! You are already seated, on the old wooden floor. My heart is made of firecrackers. My heart is made of chocolate. I burn and melt. In total surprise, I say: You!?
We smile and agree to sit together. At the end of ten minutes, you ring the bell. I don’t remember what we talk about, after we sit, but it’s something that flows beautifully. A few minutes pass, and suddenly we remember other people and clocks exist. We say we are both reluctant to join them, but we do.
And then the story, well, it really begins with my question to you, after the reading: Would you like to take a walk with me? …And then, out in the open evening air, a few streets later, my question: May I kiss you? Your mouth is dry and you laughingly complain. We look around. There’s so much, and suddenly. The moon is big and the river is near. It’s August, the end of summer. We stand in the market town of Hebden Bridge. I don’t live here, but you do. You show the way.
We walk. When we reach the bridge, we hold hands. I remember resting my head in your lap. Your hands upon my head, so gently, so gently.
I tell you I’m a healer, a shaman, that I walk between worlds. I tell you everything. No secrets are between us, already. We talk of magic. We talk of love, mystery, sex. After awhile, we walk a bit more, back toward the house.
Back at the drafty old house, later, you kneel to write your number on a scrap of paper. Time has stopped a long time ago. While writing, you look up at me. I’m in the chair, close to you, legs crossed. You shake your head, disbelievingly, almost like a confused, giddy child. You say: I don’t know you, but I love you.
We are writing a love story, my love. It includes more things. Letters, packages, emails. Visits. Six-hour Skype calls. Orgasms and dances across space and time and all that seems real. You and I in the forest, that afternoon. You and I on the islands, those evenings, when we camped. The whale leaping from the waters.
How your laugh surprises me still.
How crickets can signal not the end but the beginning of a summer.