Sometimes I wonder if I go through life half-mad. Not angry, necessarily, but a bit past the reaches of “strange.”
But there are moments that show me that I’m not. Moments that, in the big picture are entirely trivial and yet the uncanniness of them spooks me sometimes.
The past few days have consisted of moments such as these.
The night of my last final, I met some folks at the Mexican restaurant and indulged in a bit of margaritaing. (I know it’s not a verb, but it really should be) The next morning, or more accurately, the next afternoon, I bummed a ride to my car.
On this day, the one directly following my very last final, thus marking the end of studying and other nonsense for four weeks, I left the parking lot of the restaurant and, not passing go, went directly to Barnes and Noble to find a GRE prep book.
I know, sad.
While I’m standing amidst the horde (Christmas shoppers’ name is Legion, I think) of people standing in line, I come across a Rumi book. This isn’t so strange. I’ve seen quotations by him, all very, very lovely. I think about the book. I think about the fact that I only have one 25% off coupon and not a lot of money.
And I think about how gorgeous the cover is. But reason rules romance sometimes, and, therefore, I put the book back. I don’t need the book. I don’t want the book. I wouldn’t like the book.
At this point, I’m acutely aware that I’m lying to myself in the middle of Barnes and Noble and it’s a sad, sad thing.
So I check out, GRE book in hand, and go home to my favorite away-from-blogging message board. A guy there, someone with whom I have had very little contact, starts a “Christmas List” for folks. Someone says “Give me a present, Mr. Headless Dude” and he responds with a .jpeg of something he think fits their personality.
It’s all very fun and silly, really.
So I, in my most Mardi Gras voice, say “Gimme something Mister,” and he replies with a picture of this book. The very same book I had just seen for the first time merely hours before.
My heart literally stops for half a breath. I am absolutely floored. I guess I shouldn’t be, really, since I’ve had incidents (as opposed to coincidences which I truly do not believe in) happen before. But I am nonetheless. Very, very, very much floored.
I go to get my work clothes from my mother’s house and I discover that, lo and behold, I’ve received another 25% coupon in the mail.
So last night I return to Barnes and Noble, ostensibly to buy a present for someone, but I’m lingering around the table near the check out that had the book on it just Wednesday.
It’s not there. In its place is a blue book, much like the first in appearance, but blue. Now, I’d have sworn that it was red even before I saw the .jpeg that had been thrown in my direction, but even I have been known to be wrong. I picked it up anyway.
I went looking for more Rumi books, and couldn’t find the one that had been posted for me. I was greatly disappointed. I found some other lovely ones, some with beautiful illustrations, and another one with an illustrated cover.
I opted for the second one. Mostly because it had more words in it.
About halfway through the night, having finished the first one, I start on the second one.
And I’m floored again.
It’s an updated version of the one that was posted for me, the “New and Expanded Edition.”
I realize this because on the inside of the cover was the quote which grabbed my attention, both in the store and later on the message board:
Dance, when you’re broken open.
Dance, if you’ve torn the bandage off.
Dance in the middle of fighting.
Dance in your blood.
Dance, when you’re perfectly free.
It’s from Essential Rumi translated by Coleman Barks.
So now I, a little less floored and a little more grateful, dance.