In seconds of self-awareness, Janet felt bliss in the middle of all of the noise. It was as if all this anxiety, madness, fear was designed just so as to enhance and demarcate clarity in the moments when it came, crystalline, dew-dropped, silent before the storm. There was no denying that even in her weakest, most insecure of times, Janet still knew that she was beyond all of it, beyond the stifling imposition of other’s jealousy or indifference, beyond her own vanity and ever-shifting self-image; she was somewhere already still, sitting neatly next to the stream, taking it all in, letting it all wash away of its own accord. Like a sieve, like a net of the heart, a purity that dirt could run through untouched. All that would be left of herself in the end were these treasured moments of beauty, when the light focused through her and everything she was and everything that she touched was perfect, in tune with everything that is. Then the light faded and she became human again, petty, insignificant. But the diamonds were there, hidden, nestled into the back of her heart, and she waited inside of herself quietly for the moment when the treasures would become illuminated into the outer world again.
Janet knew that these moments could be sustained, lengthened, and increased in frequency. But she also knew that she could not produce them herself out of thin air. She had to learn patience, and learn how to open herself to the light when it came showering down into her face. It seemed that the more that she relaxed and allowed herself to be herself, the more frequently that she felt ecstasy.
All of the noise, the fear, the anger, the gossip, the taking for granted, the holding onto things, the materialism, the fake spiritualism, the pseudo-intellectualism, the superficial, the one-dimensional, the apathy . . . all of it added up to barriers between herself and her own heart. She was already free, if only she listened correctly. The knowledge was there, flagrant, demure, unappealing direct and simple and baby-soft and harder than steel.
Janet slipped out of her seat on the bus and stood swaying calmly in the stuffy heat of a Phoenix afternoon. The double doors pulled apart, hissing, and she dropped down the steps with gravity like water, centered, moving with music and light. A man stared wonderingly after her, his hand looped in a supportive strap, craning to look through the graffiti strewn window. She had something that he could not see.