Sometimes, while reading a book, you come across a line and you can go no further. It doesn’t matter if you were in the thick of things, it doesn’t matter if some great mystery that had you in its clutches since page one is about to be revealed with the turn of a page. Nothing matters. Except that line. You simply cannot turn the page or read a single word further.
It takes you by your breath and shakes you to the core. The whole world comes to a standstill. Your entire life condenses into that single line. Your existence is in perfect resonance with those words. You stare at that line like it was the lifeline you never knew you were in search of all your life. You read those handful of words repeatedly. You might even tear up as you grapple with a spectrum of emotions that range from joy, sadness, helplessness, gratitude, wonder, understanding, and relief.
You savor each word. Taste it from different angles, marvel at the shape of those letters, wonder over their unique order of arrangement. Read them aloud to yourself to make sure that you did not dream them into existence. And ponder over the layers of meaning. What the writer meant, what his soul meant, what the world would get from those words and what you get from those words. What your soul gleans from them. You want to curl up within the warmth of those words, because you are finally home.
It may not be the same words for you and me. What shatters my placidity might not cause even a ripple in your life. It’s just that those words thrummed with the rhythm of my lifeblood. The words to the song of your lifeblood maybe different.
And out of all the words available to mankind, how did this stranger find the right ones you needed, when even you couldn’t find them – and come up with that perfect order of arrangement out of the infinite possibilities to give expression to what you yearned to say?
It is a moment of sacred communion, when your soul is in direct communion with that of the writer. You are inexpressibly filled with gratitude. To the writer for giving utterance to your voice – to the words and images captured within you, struggling to escape and find expression-unable to be voiced because you could not decode those emotions or pull out coherent thoughts from that tangled skein of feelings. But suddenly everything falls into place as a stranger – whose only connection to you are a bunch of words – just reaches within the dark recess of your mind, moves a couple of things around, flips a switch on and suddenly there is light. He turns a key and your heart breaks open. And everything makes sense.
When that happens, you need to soak in that moment. Draw in the essence of the miracle that just happened. Relive it. Indulge in it. Experience it in every way possible. You may even be afraid to go back to the book. Afraid it may have peaked for you and nothing you read henceforth will live up to the miracle that just occurred on those pages. It’s a different kind of spoiler. A spoiler after which you know your life will have a new timeline. Pre and post that line. You are richer for those words. Stripped to your essence by those words.
But go back, you will. After a break to recover. To inventory the damage caused by the tremors. To apply balm to your bruises, to rein in your joy. To contain the effervescence that threatens to pop the cork. To sit back and savor, to still that racing heart, to wipe away a single tear, to hide a smile that even you do not see. To return from your happy place.
And then, and only then, can you turn the page. Nothing else matters.