The Girl Whisperer
as published by the Sunday Guardian
0f June 1, 2008
Once upon a time when full grown men were nothing but fledglings; when the most beautiful women were still manoeuvring their way around genuine and false suitors, when the world was young and innocence still a virtue, the Whisperer, himself a very young man, met a young female. She was as lovely as she was witty, fair to look at, beautiful to behold; she found joy and laughter in many things. The Whisperer at that time, had not come into his own, had not discovered in himself the ability to ‘see’ into the world of women, to know their subtle ways and the meanings of their many dark sayings, but she became his friend and for long periods, they would talk about anything and nothing. It was easy for them, for they both loved life and shared very many similar interests. This continued for a long while with the beauty that can only be found in the young and the young at heart. After some time however, the separation that has torn countless relationships and friendships apart came between them. As the more resigned like to say, ‘change is the only constant thing’ and twenty children will not play for twenty years. She went away to build her own life as the Whisperer did his, but they never got a chance to say goodbye, to tell each other how much their time together had meant and how he had hoped for much more than he had ever had the courage to say.
Sometimes, as time went by and the years flew, he would remember her goodness and all that she had meant to him. There are many amongst us; beautiful people, the simple, the powerful, the influential, the gregarious, the fun-loving, the crowd pullers, who sometimes during the course of their lives and day to day happenings, pause and seem to reflect. At these times, the mind has gone to a far place, in search of a time traveller, someone who was there but is now far away, and all they can do is hope and pray that someday, maybe, a prayer will get answered.
People grow up and different routes are taken, pathways sometimes taking us off the straight and narrow into dusty bush paths, but sometimes, we are able to make it back to where we were coming from and paradise is restored again. One day, out of the blue, she who had brought so much joy to him re-appeared in the Whisperer’s life again. The Time Traveller was back. There was no warning, no notice, and the circumstances of the re-union were extraordinary. It was as if the stars had come into alignment for a brief period, and she had used that singular opportunity to return to a place she once loved. The Whisperer sat stunned and speechless. It was like a visitation from another planet, only this time, the ‘alien’ was still beautiful in her heart and made many heads turn still. However, in her eyes now, was the knowledge that all women seem to be imbued with upon maturity but even with that, she had kept her girlishness, her effervescence, her happiness and her wit.
More than ten years had gone by and yet it seemed as if it was only yesterday, that we had walked down her quiet street in the gathering dusk, as I headed to the bus-stop to make my way home. This time around, as adults who have thirsted for water for a very long time without knowing, we sought to drink of each other’s experiences. We talked and talked, making up for lost time and the Whisperer knew that nothing had changed; things were still as they were more than a decade before when they had first shared their dreams. In her absence, she had been busy, as he had too, with a life full of triumphs and some sadness but she had remained true to herself.
And as they spoke widely over a range of issues, reality struck the Whisperer; he loved this girl, this girl-woman who still had the ability to play the strings of his heart like some ancient lyre. And another mystery was solved; how two people in their seventies can find each other again after three or more decades of searching and upon meeting, return to the place they once stood as if they were children. If I had not met her until decades after, when we were in our seventies, I would have loved her still.
I bet you would like to know how the story ended, if she and the Whisperer made the relationship a new reality. Were we able to overcome what naiveté might have held us down more than a decade before? Those are very good questions but that is my story and you must find yours.
Now, can it always work when a time traveller comes from the past and re-enters our lives again? It is not always a success story for as I once wrote, lightning rarely strikes twice. However, when it does, it burns up everything in its path.
There are many of us; whose yardstick for measuring the viability of those we come in contact with, is some long-lost time traveller. We meet new people and somewhere in the back of our minds, we are judging them against almost impossible standards, a long-gone partner, a distant friend who has gone to parts unknown but once knew us and understood our whims and caprices almost instinctively.
The Whisperer has found his own time traveller even though it took many years. My friend came back and sought me out. May you find yours, if over the years; your heart has quietly yearned for the return of beauty.