This I Believe

Lisa - Norfolk, Virginia
Entered on September 24, 2007
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: community

I believe we all hear the same sounds, but we don’t all hear the music in the rain.

During a clammy rain, wipers splatting out a rhythm, radio mumbling, I stop at an intersection and hear a voice belting out gospel.

I’m four cars back at a red so I shut off the wipers and radio. Pacing at the corner is a compact woman; arms in a V stretched up to the weeping sky. Rain rolls down her like sweat on a root beer bottle in August.

I’ve seen her before. Headphones cover her ears. She’s good too.

“Sing it Sister!” someone calls from a car. Arms extend as cell phone cameras snap away.

A distinguished looking white-haired man dressed like he’s headed to an uptown luncheon must pass her as he runs a few light errands. On first pass he looks irritated. Second pass he catches a riff of her uplifting song. By pass three he’s a convert. A grin flits around his face and finds his mouth. He has been changed.

Another thing I believe in is talking to strangers, or at least listening to them. I’ve tried hard to stop because it worries my husband into apoplexy.

Today isn’t going to be the day because I see her run into the pharmacy and know this is my chance to learn her name. If I were a cat curiosity would have me by the tail of my 9th life.

She is still singing up the aisle when I blurt, “Hello. I love your singing. What’s your name?”

She rounds on me and with the hitching, sing-song of a preacher, “Sisssstuh! Dolores Pack is my name. But I ain’t nothin’! I only sing to the glory of the Lord. You can call me Dollar D, baby.”

Heads turn. Eyes roll and whispers hiss in line at the counter.

I knew right then I won’t ever kick my addiction to strangers – the stranger the better.

In the wake of Dollar D there is discussion among strangers who previously had nothing in common. People, like me, who would have gone robotically, stressfully about their daily rounds are awakened and connected. Recharged.

When she walks out people rush me like a groupie who touched a rock star. “What was she like? What did she say?”

I walked away singing her tune, “Can’t sleep at night. And you wonder why. Maybe God is trying to tell you something…”