The metronome was ticking softly as the young man took his seat before his inquirer. Without wasting any time the gentleman behind the desk began, “Did our time together last week help at all?”
“Oh yes, certainly” came the very quick reply.
Now whether the older man expected this response or not is impossible for us to know for certain, but it is nonetheless true that a change in the man’s countenance took place, and most notably in the area where his eyebrows sat. For at the moment the gentleman received the younger man’s words the elderly eyebrows almost jumped up, as if the eyes over which they reclined suddenly became scolding hot – this he learned sometime ago, was the look of surprise. He followed this remarkable display with a quite ordinary question, but as we will see, it had the desired effect.
“Really? In what way?”
At this both men shifted in their seats, the latter adjusting himself in such a way as interested people do in uncomfortable chairs, and the former in such a way as one does when one must respond to unexpected and hitherto irrelevant questions.
“Well I…” was all the man needed to say before his mind and body reverted to an almost practiced eloquence. His body relaxed, his posture regained its former confidence and his voice took on something of a deliberate pace. His words were slower and yet more intense, as if he struggled to articulate what had so often been the nucleus of some ineffable experience. This all occurred within an instant mind you, and although such things are hardly noticed – if at all – by many, the case worker was acutely aware of the alteration that occurred between one tick of the metronome to another. “I was very much interested in this question myself. And I must admit against all my pride which almost screams out against my honesty, that last week’s meeting was something…(pausing to correct himself with a smile) and is something of a mystery to me. I made an attempt to speak to my fellow colleagues about it, but they could hardly grasp themselves what I was trying to relate, and even if they could have I highly doubt that together we could have come up with anything more impressive than to say ‘yes, that was helpful’ as I am most certainly doing today.”
Clearly satisfied with his own response and his ability to navigate what was certainly an attempt to corner his intelligence, the young man sat up straighter and leaned forward slightly, as if ready and eager to pounce on another question. The question however, never came. Instead, the case worker opened his file and scribbled something illegible underneath the previous week’s contribution – “thank you that will be all.”