Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Swimming on a Horse

The postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent IBM's positions, strategies or opinions.

I've Never Done It, but a Colleague Has

She told me it's like being on a horse on a merry-go-round. What a marvelous-sounding experience...if only I knew how to ride on land before- and afterward. Life offers so many experience possibilities, if one lives long enough.

Today, I felt extra-alive. My friend and colleague, who lost her 10-day-old baby recently and I had lunch at her work-site.

The baby was already handsome and somehow adult, like I could tell how good-looking and suave he'd have been as a man, just looking at his dark eyebrows, handsome features and neat, black hair in the days-old photos. His humanity tore at me. His mother's Facebook profile still features gorgeous pregnant photos of my colleague and friend. He was the size of a doll, and yet seemed powerful in parallel.

Seeing him made me feel more alive. Witnessing snapshots of his brief life pumped up mine with some further purpose somehow.

My colleague and friend looked great and I told her so, and I felt suddenly inappropriate and cringed visibly.

"No, I'm glad you think so," she said.

She looked even more feminine than usual, and even more full of dignity. How does someone crawl out of bed after such a personal cataclysm, let alone look better than ever? Maybe her humanity, too, was even more visible than usual and that conferred extra beauty. Anyhow, I felt a little distracted by it, and by the delicious smell of the Indian cafeteria food I had ordered; it was Indian cuisine day.

Everything she said sounded extra-wise. It was awesome, i.e., awe-inspiring to be with someone who was surviving a deep heart-stab...metaphorically, but almost not just metaphorically. At one point I said something I can't recall, but it made both of us laugh hard and I felt immediately guilty. In Jewish tradition, we are supposed to avoid generating humor around mourners...and yet the sound of her laugh made me try to pretend in my mind that it hadn't happened, for a moment.

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