The kid had already performed St. James Infirmary for Talent Show tryouts. Yet, we sat in the audience anyway. Maybe this year they were required to stay until the last performer had auditioned. His buddy was called to go home. And still we stayed. I sat on the back side of the lunch table, with my son and two girls in front of me.
The girl on his left kept asking questions. I’d see the dip of his head toward her, and then the deepening murmur of his response.
My god! I thought. We’re staying for a girl!
Again the dip of his head. More questions. More responses.
Forty minutes of children performing at the piano, on stage with hula hoops, dances choreographed to pop songs from two years ago. On and on. Still his head dipped toward hers.
Is there a better giveaway than the dipped head? The way one person seems to drink in the other. A face dipped into a pool of light. A gift still in its wrap and ribbon.
The next evening, we headed up to an after-school event. The kid had surprised us by asking to attend. He vanished after we fed him and reappeared a moment later with the girl who asked questions.
The dip is also discovery, isn’t it? A kind of attention usually reserved for examination. For research.
I hope I never stop dipping to my wife. My head turned slightly to whisper something to her alone. To rest my forehead against hers for a moment and reinvigorate myself there as though love were a resource we need only bow toward. An attentive, curious supplicant.
My attention is entirely on you. You. With your questions. All of your questions. I will make it a habit to listen. To listen. And respond.