Use Your Words

by Dian Reid-Jancic· Follow Dian on

I sat inside the Coffee Bean on Sepulveda Blvd in Manhattan Beach, and waited for my colleague to arrive for our meeting. I’d gotten there a little early, so I worked on some notes while I waited, which made it seem like I wasn’t waiting at all. From the comfy brown leather chair, I could see the patrons outside as they chatted and enjoyed the fresh air. A man and a woman in conversation caught my eye.

The man was speaking. The woman was listening intently, chin resting in her palm, really digging into the words coming from the man’s mouth. And then from nowhere, a burst of laughter. Her head flew back, her mouth opened, her entire being lit up and laughed out loud. She continued to laugh for several seconds, and I continued to be a voyeur, soaking up the feel-good from the other side of the window.

From watching this woman break into hearty laughter, I became happy, myself. I almost felt like laughing along with them, although I had no clue what they were talking about. My being felt lighter than it had just a moment ago, and my face beamed with a refreshing light from witnessing joy. And then a thought flashed in my head:

Go tell that woman the effect it had on you! She looks so beautiful when she smiles, and she should know that her laughter made you smile. Go tell her.

I sat in my chair. I sat an watched as the moment passed. I watched the moment get taken off with the breeze of the afternoon, and into the clouds. More thoughts in my head:

I can’t go out there now. It’s too late, the moment is gone. Now I’ll just be interrupting them. I’ll just die if I go out there now.

And so I continued to sit in my chair. My colleague arrived, our meeting began, and my head moved on from the smile that lit up my afternoon. Until we came to the end of our meeting. I glanced out the window again, and again, the woman was laughing. I shared my previous experience with my colleague, and even that I wanted to share that experience with the woman but sat and did nothing. My colleague noticed a break in the line and excused herself to get some tea. I sat and thought about speaking to the woman. Just thinking about getting up and speaking to the woman made my heart race and my palms sweaty.

What is this fear about??

I got up and made a move for the door leading to the patio, where the woman and the man were still in conversation. I walked to the table and excused myself for interrupting. I told the woman of the effect her laughter had on me, and then quickly wished her a wonderful day and excused myself back inside. Before I could turn around, she thoughtfully thanked me for sharing my experience with her, and wished me a wonderful day of my own. I walked back inside and sat down in the comfy brown leather chair before my colleague returned with her tea. My heart still racing, palms still sweaty. And somehow, I hadn’t died from simply using my words. What a notion.

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Photo by: http://www.flickr.com/photos/svv/ / CC BY 2.0

  • Dian – I love this for so many reasons, but most of all for your presence to enjoy the laughter fully and for your courage to share it. The times that strangers have made kind comments to me – love your haircut, love your tag line (not kidding!) have made my day. What could the world be if we all shared our joy so freely?

  • Dian – I love this for so many reasons, but most of all for your presence to enjoy the laughter fully and for your courage to share it. The times that strangers have made kind comments to me – love your haircut, love your tag line (not kidding!) have made my day. What could the world be if we all shared our joy so freely?

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