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Gil C. Schmidt was born. Lucky for him and some 416 people, many of who don't seem to know it. Lives in Puerto Rico, which is convenient because he also works from there. Gil writes about dozens of real things (with relish) and dozens of imaginary things (like phantasmagoric pickles), in separate forums. Author of several books and a son, Gil gets in trouble when he's bored. Please head to the egress now.


Friday, June 03, 2005

It

There are days—not many—when I know I have it, a special energy that seems to beam from my skin. It attracts the eyes of women, some of whom stare like cats as they try to determine what caught their attention. It creates an aura that often startles a woman who sees me suddenly, a combination of surprise and puzzlement that leaves a strong impression, many times leading to a sudden relaxing of the body that serves as a prelude to more intimate conversation.

Men who look at me on those days often frown, as if challenged in some primitive way. On those days, men walking with women tend to reach out to them, pull them closer, openly place themselves between me and “their” woman or glare at me. Although I make eye contact with the woman, I never change expression or make any gesture, nor do I hold the contact longer than needed to see their reaction. Often enough to please me, on those days of it, women will move away from the men and keep their eyes glued to mine.

Those few days happen on their own. I can no more will them as I can will the sun to stop. They emerge slow, yet swiftly, a rising crescendo of energy that swoops upward to fly above the normal into the extraordinary. I ride that energy, play with it, revel in its glow like an otter in the bay, treasuring every minute as if collecting gold figurines.

The flight may last a few hours or several, but its afterglow carries me ‘til the morrow. Except for that one day when I thought it was mine to control, that I was pilot of my fantastic flight.

I have blue eyes. Not a big deal, except in a country where brown is the vast majority. They are almost certainly my only attractive feature, as I am neither tall, nor broad nor handsome. The blue is not singular in hue, but at times can become dark, tending to indigo or lighten from sky to baby. And on those days when it appears, my eyes have been described as vivid, haunting or unforgettable.

On one such day, in my teen years, I walked into the Post Office. As I addressed a letter, a woman walked over to me, entranced. I had noticed her outside. Her face was transformed, serene, intent and her walk was slow, as if in church. She stood within a few feet of me and said with liquid force: “You have such beautiful eyes.”

It was here. And with the mindless glee of the drunk, I replied: “It’s my contact lenses. They’re brown. My contacts that is.”

The face became mask. From alive to blank, vibrant to defensive. “I said you have beautiful eyes.” Her voice was dry, a hint of doubt creeping in like a weedy tendril.

“Oh, I know,” I babbled on, drunk on myself. “I paid green for brown that seems blue.”

Shutdown. Anger, sharp and thick, covered her face. She twirled, her heavy skirt a dismissive wave as she walked out. It followed her. I knew she thought her words and emotion were wasted on a dork. I knew she was right.

I felt empty. Not so much drained as sucked dry by the massive void of my careless words. For although I knew then I had ruined it, it was years before I knew why.

On those magical days that flow from me, I am giving the best of myself freely. I feel in tune with me, and that is what it shares with the world. It is generosity, the sharing of spirit; it cannot be forced, for doing so breaks the connection. Generosity denied is selfishness of the venal sort.

I took from that sincere woman not only my generosity, but hers. I severed mine, but what I did to hers went beyond denial to contempt and disrespect. She honored me in my moment: I dishonored her acknowledgement of it.

The flight—the magical flow—has returned many times. I let it happen as one lets the dawn. I neither seek nor rely on it, and while the energy glows, I move with it like a soaring bird, lightly upon its currents, content to follow any lead, swoop smilingly in any direction and land when it lulls away. Never again have I cut the flow… nor will I. It is mine and yet not. Maybe someday it will be.

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