Two people stood at the entrance to the hall leading to the bathroom, seemingly guarding the entrance on either side. Their bodies were covered in tattoos, their hair in a fashion that could only be described as punk. But their faces held the expressions of someone you would want to meet, full of joy and happiness, and of someone who would surely accept anyone from all walks of life. And they smiled at me as they continued talking in an excited fashion. But they did not use their lips or their voices, they used their hands. The only sound was the clanking of glasses, the music at a low hum, the hiss from the espresso machine. But a bubble was present around them, their meaning expressed through excited gestures, an occasional laugh escaping from their smiling mouths. And all noises seemed to disappear as their conversation seemed to be the loudest one in the room. I ducked underneath the conversation to wait outside the occupied restroom. And I tried not to be obvious in my interest of their dancing fingers, the rapid movements in their hands in the language that was a mystery to me. I watched out of the corner of my eye, trying to appear fascinated by the bulletins on the wall, but really I was fascinated by the grace they possessed. And as the woman in the restroom came out, our eyes caught and we smiled, and it was almost like we both knew that silence was necessary, not wanting to break the magic spell these two beautiful creatures had over anyone who happened to be witness to their exchange.
A friend once wrote of her experience at a party, where she was the only person that could hear the deafening music, the rest of the guests only able to feel the bouncing rhythm that shook the whole room. The cops finally came and told the guests that they would have to turn down the music. And the room no longer shook, the guests unable to dance for they could no longer “hear” the music. Confused hands moved in a fury of motion as the situation was explained to those who couldn’t understand the sudden change. And the birthday girl stood up, an interpreter beside her to communicate what she was signing.
“I can’t hear the music…I can feel the music….so can everyone stand up and close their eyes and feel their heart beats…and dance to your heart beat……”
And my friend was moved in awe as the silent party continued to dance with no sound whatsoever, but all in a movement that blended as one, and was reminded again of the wonderful connection we all share as many different people combined as one.
When I left the restroom, the couple was gone. But a second couple waited at a table with their son. They, too, were decorated in tattoos. Their son, no older than 4, sported a punkish mohawk and an innocent face. And they too knew this foreign language, their young son contributing to the conversation in a delicate movement of his hands. And I wanted to cry at the beauty of it all, wishing in that moment I could take away my gift of sound to join their beautiful world of dancing hands and silent laughter.