Being There with Charlie (#572)

Standing rapt and just being there in the moment.
That’s how Jim told me Charlie stood in perfect attention when they chanced upon three conga drummers while riding the subway this evening.

“Drumset, drumset!” Jim said earnestly to me as we walked down Church Street to catch the PATH train home. “Remember how he used those chopsticks on the table when we had dinner with your family in California?” He asked. (I did indeed, and also how, as a child, I was sternly admonished not to play with my chopsticks—the kindly indulgences of my parents-become-grandparents).

I did not get to witness Charlie and the congas because I was at an arts event of another kind, a dance concert, “Rounds,” with live music—-Jim knows the sister of both a dancer and of the singer/bass player in the band and he really wanted us to go. Only, of course—-while we do try to take Charlie everywhere we can—-a modern dance concert was probably not a Charlie-type event, and Jim’s judgement proved right.

He and Charlie rode the subway, which Charlie is getting more and more interested in, with its seemingly infinite numbers of trains and places to go and the passing show of people, the musicians from classical violinists to players of the erhu. I wonder, too, if Charlie likes the idea of going down under, below the ground, just as in the swimming pool (as he did today) he loves to raise his hands above his head and sink to the bottom, ever so slowly so I can just see him through the wrinkles of the water.

There were five dancers in the concert, first two men and two women now pairing off, now picking each other up (and the women picking up the men, as well as the reverse), now becoming a moving human sculpture of linked legs and arms, all dressed in white and red and yellow. About half-way through, a third woman, all dressed in white, joined the four, who gradually became one with the foursome as the dance progressed. At one point, the dancers laughed, loudly and while pulling elaborate faces—a sudden moment of comedy amid the intensity.

I joined in the laughter; Jim and Charlie and I had already had a few “you gotta laugh” moments earlier today, including walking several blocks in the wrong direction to find the theater for the dance concert (it turned out that it was a short distance from the PATH station); swapping “yeah, it’s just tough sometimes, isn’t it?” stories while at the pool with a family whom we have known for some years and whose non-verbal son is nearing adolescence—Charlie was moving in his kingfish way through the water; not knowing what to say (or perhaps not wanting to say what we might have) when a relative talked about how “just because” her family has “a good life” certain topics that we often mention in our house did not need to be brought up.

“Pink cake!” Charlie proclaimed to me on the trainride back to Jersey. “White cake!” “Blue cake,” I said. “Cake! Pink cake,” said Charlie. “Purple cake,” I responded. “Purpo cake. Yallow cake! Cake!” Charlie then burst into his ever on-tune rendition of “Happy birth-day to yeeoo……”

If there’s not a good life described in this post, then I don’t know what it is Jim and Charlie and I together.

2 Responses to “Being There with Charlie (#572)”
  1. Kathy says:

    “Happy birth-day to yeeoo…”
    “If there’s not a good life described in this post, then I don’t know what it Jim and Charlie and I together.”
    Amen to that Kristina! My sentiments exactly..
    Fireflies pass across jewelled windows
    Voices have ceased in the golden palace
    One stays up through the autmn night, gauze-curtained
    And a solitary light gleams on..
    Wang Wei..
    Reminds me of you Kristina.. Burning the midnight oil..
    Incidentally.. I really enjoy Chinese and Japananese poems..Have a book of Wang Wei’s Poetry.
    Had it since I was 18 yrs old..

  2. I also like Li Po…..
    Lovely stuff—your words are always very cheering!

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