The Knowledge of Ignorance


He saw her look at him in awe. Eyes that had seen pain they didn’t deserve. Trust she had given that had never been earned. Partly broken yet trying to heal, a part of her heart she could no longer feel.

She told him he was the smartest man she’d ever met. Not knowing how many bad hands he’d been dealt.

If she only knew how many times he had failed. How many times his career, his life, had derailed.

Trust didn’t come easy for him any more. How could it when so many people had pushed him to the floor. Saying they supported him, but closing every door.

Failure for him was now simply another opportunity to begin again, each time more intelligently. Starting fresh more apprehensively. Another brave face presented relentlessly.

She said “I listen to you and many times I don’t understand”. He said “it’s just because you haven’t felt my hurt first hand”. But, those are words he could never speak. Hiding the secrets he plans to keep. The hurt from which he will refuse to weep. The wounds he hides that run too deep.

She said don’t shut me out and talk as if nine comes before eight, talk to me as it’s getting late, tell me of those that hurt you that you need to berate.

His interest wasn’t in talking of himself, because there was so little of herself she would reveal. He knew she had something to conceal. A vagueness about her he could feel. She shared what she could fighting not to be misunderstood.

She turned to him again as if to say he had a gift. But, he had never changed the course of a river, never saved a life, never took a piece of metal and taught it to fly. With so much time now gone by, he felt sad about what he hadn’t done and didn’t try. He had mastered the knowledge of ignorance because he didn’t know much more than he knew.

He suddenly felt humbled that a brilliant lawyer saw in him no average man. That she didn’t think that he could but knew that he can.

This coming from someone so dynamic and smart. She said no,’”I just know how to play the part”. She said being beautiful professionally was a curse. That things could have been worse. That being thought of as a dumb blond wasn’t so bad. It wasn’t the worst she’d ever had. She said I can see the smirks in their faces, the resentment in their eyes. But, I know I’m not dumb, she exclaimed, and I’m not a natural blonde either, but they will never be tamed.

As they continued to talk he too knew it was getting late. That no two people meet by chance but because of fate. He said life was complex with too much to contemplate. Now he was trying to manipulate, her saying proceed don’t hesitate.

He impressed upon her how many years had gone by and how little he still knew. Like Einstein who could tell the stars apart but knew nothing of the anatomy of the human heart. So much to learn so little time. One life time alone such a crime.

He looked at her while she drank her wine admiring how her eyes can shine. Those eyes can be a friend of mine. They agreed they were surrounded by so many unknowns. What does he believe in and what does she? She asked him, “in the end is there a God or an imaginary friend”? She raised her hand as if to thrust and said there is no man she will ever trust. What certain men had done to her had left her shaken. Too much of her innocence had been taken.

She asked if the same was true of him. Had someone also done him in. But, in this distress he’d never been, still not much lost, but so much to win. As with every discussion that gets intense, he runs to hide behind his fence. Saying this discussion would need another day, as he had nothing else left to say.

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© Khaled F. Sherif, 2020

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