Who needs words, she said!

“Who needs words,”she said. All you need to look straight into my eyes and you’ll know what I have to say.”You keep talking”, she said, “I’ll listen”. But for you to know what I am saying, all you need to do is look. Coz I won’t exchange words with you. And maybe, yes I will ask you to focus harder, but then that’s not too much to ask for is it. Yet I will say all that I want to say to you. Coz if I have held your hand in my small tiny fingers, I do believe that you will understand.

I have known this little girl M for a while now. She comes to PetSitters most weekends for a swimming session for her pet and now pets. Sometimes all chirpy, sometimes all grumpy, sometimes very sleepy and sometimes all sheepishly smiling like she has some secret she wants to share but actually doesn’t want to share. She doesn’t want to usually do just one thing when she comes every weekend. Most Saturdays she wants to stand by the pool and watch the dogs swim. If it gets to sunny she shifts a bit into shade and is willing to sit down thanks to her parents insistence.

She and I don’t interact much at work than the usual “Hi M, how are you today?” which is returned, again, with a sheepish smile on most days or just a look on some days. But then very rarely do I also have the time to sit and chat as most of you do know how my Saturdays are. But then, sometimes, it’s my lucky day if she is willing to share her banana with me. Extended conversations with her parents over coffee and everything else under the sun and ofcourse the dogs.

Most Saturdays go like this for us.

And then a Tuesday bloomed over her and me. She came to visit us for a program that we were doing in her favourite Cafe. She came with her mother. We, as usual, said our hellos and I got engrossed in conversation with her mother over endless coffees.

And then as more people joined us in conversation, one small little finger came and held my finger tight and signaled to me “let’s go out”. I obliged. Shocked, for one, and a little baffled I walked out with her. I thought she wanted to go sit with the dogs who were outside. But that wasn’t the case, we would reach the dogs and then turn back.. Back to the cafe door and then back to the dogs.. And this continued. She would point to some small flower and burst into giggles or look at me to look at what she was looking. With every step where she felt she needed a second hand holding, she looked for my other hand. With every step she took with me on her side she without saying a word told me that she trusted me to take care of her. She would walk to the cafe door smile at her mom, wave out a bye and walk again with me. That’s when it dawned on me that we were just entertaining ourselves.

The trust this girl showed in me then is when I realised that she has known me. I wasn’t just another someone her parents knew and met, but I was also somebody to her. All these last couple of years of non communicating was just a tip. We knew each other. She had some bit of confidence in me to walk out with me alone. And at that moment I had a new friend in her.

“He realized : If I can learn to understand this language without words, I can learn to understand the world.”


Paulo Coelho