‘Palm on the glass, touching. Face to face, I stand. Unspeaking, I look into my eyes. Silent, knowing.’
In the book ‘The Origin of Others,’ Toni Morrison shared a story about a trip to Vienna Biennale. She described being in a room with artworks on display. She was asked to enter a dark room where she faced a mirror. Within few seconds, a figure appeared. Slowly taking shape, they moved towards her. A woman, she described. When the woman was close to her, same height, she placed her palm on the glass and asked Ms. Morrison to do the same. The woman and Ms. Morrison, stood face to face, unspeaking, looking into the eyes of the other. Slowly the figure, faded, shrank before disappearing altogether. But within few seconds, another woman appeared. They repeated the same gesture. Palm on the glass, touching. Face to face, they stood. Unspeaking, they looked into the eyes of the other, the eyes of each other. Slowly, the second woman faded, and disappeared altogether. Then another woman appeared. Same gesture repeated. Palm on the glass, touching. Face to face, they stood. Unspeaking, they looked into the eyes of the other, the eyes of each other. Until, she too faded, disappeared, with another woman reappearing and the same gesture repeating. Face to face, they still stood. Palms on the glass still touching. Unspeaking still, they looked into the eyes of the other, the eyes of each other. Morrison, noted that this gesture of touching each other’s palms, looking into each other’s eyes, went on for sometime. And every woman was different. Different in age, different in body shape, different in color, different even in dress. This story she recounted was the premise for her novel ‘Paradise.’ This intimacy with a stranger. A silent knowing. Acceptance of each other, one to one.
Paradise with it’s one to one narratives, amid struggles, chaos, but affection, personifies the seeing that I hope to capture with the stories I share on this blog. One to one. My journey through life with you, a stranger, reading this. Accepting I hope, each story, each keep. If only more women, more mothers, those who work, those who tend, those with voice, those without, can stand face to face, palms on this glass called life, unspeaking, but looking into the eyes of the other. Accepting each other, one to one. A silent knowing of the hopes, impediments, but survival of this thing called motherhood. What will we see? What will we learn, when we face each other, face ourselves. Would we build each other up? Face to face, would we help each other adapt, to the touching, palms on the glass. Or would we, even unspeaking, ensure that we work to secure the resources we all need? Or would we look into each other’s eyes. A silent knowing instructing each other of what to keep or discard, which chaos are messy but beautiful.
I tried Ms. Morrison’s experience for myself. I closed the door to my bathroom. Turned on a dim light. Placed my palm on the glass and for one brief moment, I stood face to face with myself. Building. My dreams. Adapting, deep breaths, with each palm on the glass. Face to face with my being. Unspeaking. Fears. Securing. Hopes. Looking into my eyes. Looking into myself. A silent knowing. Keeping. Acceptance of myself, with all my flaws, all my struggles, all my hopes, served beautifully, as stories. Keeping this. One to one, one keep at a time. Keeping this. For myself, for each other, for you. A silent knowing, whomever you are, however you read this. Keep this. Our silent knowing. Keep it.