from the ninth of february, two thousand thirteen.
The day I found out that Arya died, I walked to the theatre filled with quiet. Her friends were waiting there, friends who knew her much more than the way I did: as a name on a screen saturated with memories of flashing lights and a shocked, weary, beyond-tears roommate sitting on an old couch in the back of the office. Friends who held her hand through other struggles, laughed with her about the funny things her professors said or her family did, cried with her over small things and big. Now they cry for her.
Before I arrived to this chaos of mood shifts and colorful costumes, though, I walked across the pavement in silence. I crossed towards 39th street, passing a couple walking their dogs. One was younger, clearly a puppy: Zorku. He skipped beyond me and then wheeled about suddenly, like he sensed my need for such warm and fuzzy comfort: I scratched his head and laughed clear and bright, smiling in the dark and wishing I could hold him for just a few minutes longer. I smiled my thanks and continued my walk, breaking my quiet to call mama and whisper hard words that that girl i mentioned, she died and hear her heart-heavy endearments of oh, honey, and know that she and Kari Jo were probably praying for me as soon as I hung up the phone.
I heard my name and stopped sudden, startled but surprisingly not embarrassed despite my cold, salt-stained cheeks. David stood there, bundled against this windy winter. He listened, kind and sharing quiet concern as I explained the heartbreak kind of a day it had been, that Arya had died and her friends were my friends and I was headed to run lights for their show. He expressed his sympathy and when I changed the topic to a cheerier one, heart-burning and beautiful, he said that of course he would tell me why he loves India, how about I stop by one day and we can discuss it?
I saw this movie once with some friends. It was a kid’s movie, small and happy and full of silly covers of songs and celebrity voices and Elijah Wood’s blue eyes on a fluffy, dancing baby penguin — the star of Happy Feet. There’s this theory in the movie that I still love. Everyone, they say, has a heart song. Everyone. The conflict in the movie comes up when Mumble’s heart song is more of a rhythm he beats out with his feet and less Brittany Murphy singing Somebody to Love.
We all have some kind of heart song, I think (mine is Mumford & Sons’ Below My Feet, but that’s a story for another time); something that makes us sit up a little straighter and breathe a little deeper and talk a little quicker. Sometimes, we might have more than one — but there’s always something that rings true and deeply resonates with some aspect of what we know life to be. There are topics that make my heart beat faster, make me know — know — that something in them matters beyond myself. For David, that something is India: its people, its culture, its history, itself. For me, that something ranges anywhere from healthcare affordability to Deaf Culture and language access.
I whispered thanks as I walked the last few blocks to Iron Gate, reminded once again of how good God is, how faithful; for he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted…