Three years ago, I met my husband. At work. So taboo, I know! Here’s a semi fictional version of our story …A girl in a womanly suit with a skirt sat across from a boy inside a manly crisp jacket. They both wore gray and a peek of blue showing at the collar. A table stood between them, deep and wide it was, but the smile he smiled at her carried across the vast divide. She smiled back at him, unaware the gap just grew smaller.
A teacher handed them a stapled sheaf, with intent to inspire. Corporate success is bound for you! Plan each day, we will show you how! First, fill your day with big rocks and stones, add in some pebbles and drizzle with sand. Inside these lines, you’ll shape your day. Try to stay inside the lines, try not to stray.The girl knew what was important to her. The big rocks were heavy; sometimes they weighed her down. The man across from her watched with glee. He understood how it worked. His jacket wrinkled when he pushed aside the sheaf to lean over, “Meet me outside?”
She paused; afraid was she, to cross the line. In that moment, he didn’t wait and quietly asked, “Join me for a day in the park, let’s let the sun warm our feet.” His smile convinced her, “We’ll just talk and read, maybe have some iced tea?” The girl opened her sheaf and turned to a page, “I have only a few rocks on this day, I’ll meet you there at three.”
The road she drove on was gray and flat, full of rocks melded together that she never minded. The park was green; summer was blooming and the sky was deep blue. She showed up in shorts and threw her hair in a pony. It wasn’t a date, just you know, a friendly meeting.
First, they talked about sand, then pebbles and rocks that filled up their lives. The boundary of conversation framed only by the past, present, and future. Some of the rocks were igneous; black and hot. Other rocks were metamorphic, we were changed by force into something more beautiful than we’d ever imagined. Sedimentary rocks, we had dead shells and sand heated, pressed, and beaten on by the wind and rain. We found them one by one, taking them out of the jar, erasing the lines.
These are my rocks. I want you to see them all.
By nightfall she’d known him her whole life. Hand in hand they said, “Let’s make some Rock Stew.”
Into the pot, they threw in big stones, pebbles and all the sand they could find. Along came the family and added some too. Neighbors and friends, they couldn’t hold back, everyone had a rock they could give. People they didn’t know, people from around the world; everyone had a rock to rid.
They stirred and they stirred. Until one day, the girl had a thought. She was frightened. So many rocks, she was bound to break her teeth. The boy saw her fear, and he was frightened too. So many pebbles he might choke; the thought of rocks in his stomach made him sick.
By nightfall, there was a knock on the door. A visitor stopped by, a professor of sorts, they knew him from school.
“They call me the alchemist; I can turn stone into soup, if you’ll just let me try.”
Without further ado, the couple let him in. The alchemist waved his hands over the pot and said with a wink, “Your hearts were convinced, why restrict your hands? Slow down in this life and let this soup brew.” He gently nudged the boy and held the girls hand.
They turned to each other and smiled the same smile that crossed the abyss of a table. It might not work out; but maybe it would. They did as he said, and went on with their day. He dipped in the ladle and found the soup clear; clear as consommé. They thought it was magic, a twist in the plot.
The alchemist was all the wiser; he knew magic wasn’t so clever. Magic was simply a stirring of words; a change of heart.