A Girl Named Simply

by Christopher Lovejoy on May 21, 2022

By the time I reach the café, I feel pleasantly spent by my trek up the mountain. I am hours away from the top, night is falling, and I have need of refreshment. I make my way to the entrance of the café, inside of which a girl, too old to be a tween and too young to be a mom, greets me graciously. I bow by way of greeting and she escorts me to a table where I can sit with a clear view of the moon behind a stand of trees, appearing as a slow dance of shadowy creatures. As I sit in contemplation of the shadows, the girl brings me a menu whose entries are shrouded by strange symbols, but with plenty of pictures, I can make a selection, though I know to be careful with pictures. Especially on a menu. I settle on a Perrier.

Without missing a beat, she disappears with a grace that would delight a choreographer. I do a survey of my surroundings and take note: I am the only one here. Which is fine, because I like to be alone with my thoughts on a trek. I cast my gaze outward in wonder of the shadows that sway under a full moon.

The girl alerts me to her return and I am surprised to see that she has brought a tray holding a wide assortment of drinks. I am even more surprised when she inquires as to whether she can join me: mind if I have a drink? I look around before gazing into her eyes and reflecting, sensing no ulterior motive. Not at all, I reply. Please. I gesture toward the chair opposite my own. In a single motion, she sets the tray on the table by the window with ease, sits herself down with uncommon grace, and then pours me a glass of Perrier. I have to ask: are you a dancer? She giggles like a little girl. What makes you think so? I pause to reflect. By the way you move. She pours herself a spritzer and smiles. I do not dance to form, she replies rather enigmatically, adding: for me, the way to do is to be. It is then that I know we are kindred spirits. BeDo BeDo BeDo, I proffer playfully. She loses it by laughing out loud in spite of herself.

She extends her hand across the table. I go by the name of Simply. I wonder: is this a gag? I play along, taking her hand and grasping it gently, perhaps too gently. Pleased to meet you, Simply. Feeling mischievous, I add: I go by Soundly. Giggling, she replies with a note of disbelief: well, that sounds interesting; which do you suppose comes first – simply or soundly? A profound question, I think. Well, if I don’t wanna be a simpleton, I better put soundly before simply, yes? Her whole demeanor changes after that, from one of playfulness to one of mindfulness – a beautiful mindfulness that includes harmonious tones of dignity and serenity with nary a hint of gravity.

It is then that I see us together at the top, at the crack of dawn.