It’s easy to ignore especially since it’s nearly impossible to detect unless you let yourself escape away with it. You can tune it out and pretend that you don’t hear the gentle, nudging — maybe even nagging — rhythm it beats. It’s simple enough to just go on about your day and all of the errands and tasks that define those 24-hours, trying so hard to focus on the car horns and the street signs, the dance of the traffic lights and the unfamiliar faces that pass.
But then it gets a little louder.
It gains momentum and tries different tactics to steal away your attention, oftentimes without you even realizing its sheer force and determination. You can’t adequately describe what exactly it is. Even with your best attempts, the words don’t come out the right way and your friends just can’t wrap their brain around this alluding, and perhaps deluding concept that you seem so fascinated by. You explain and you examine, you question and dissect your options, hoping that by some pro-con list or magical realization that you’ll find a way out. You’ll discover the easiest path to take you the easiest way, and you’ll never have to step up to the plate and battle that thing that’s ringing in your ears.
That thing that for whatever reason feels a lot like an intuition.
That feels eerily like a voice telling you to do something that you can’t really explain. It’s the same irritating, pesky feeling that makes you do things that make you uncomfortable and explore emotions that you’d rather hide away where they’re safe from any harm.
But then, if you’re anything like me, you start singing that song of urgency and you follow along the notes until it takes you to the very spot in the middle of Times Square that not only makes your skin crawl but puts you so far out of your warm-and-fuzzy-mode that you’d basically do anything if you could just run far, far away, back uptown to your apartment. With your dog.
So there I was, standing in a room of strangers at a trendy-ish bar in midtown, refraining from plugging my ears from the raging DJ’s awful taste, not knowing one single person, and yet, knowing I was meant to go to this party. It was a fundraiser for a new charity in New York and from the moment I saw the invite on Facebook, something — that silly something — told me that I had to go.
When I started bringing up the Friday-night event to my friends, it seemed like every last person I knew on this island couldn’t attend: “I’m sorry, I’m out-of-town!” “Oh, I’m not feeling good. I might be able to do it, I’ll get back to you.” “I’m going to stay in tonight and be lazy, have fun!” “It’s in Times Square? Sorry, just can’t handle it.” “I have plans with my boyfriend that I can’t break, miss you!”
Ugh. So, I flew solo, just as that intuition instructed.
Now, why am I supposed to be here? I wondered while making small talk with another small town girl from the South over a $5 glass of champagne. She was talking about dating in the city and seeking my “expert” advice while pointing out men that looked like celebrities. That one looks like Ross from FRIENDS! And that dude by the bar looks like Channing Tatum, doesn’t he? Maybe a little? She was quirky and sweet enough, but I knew it wasn’t her that I was supposed to meet.
Or was I supposed to meet anyone? I considered. Maybe my mission this evening was to join yet another non-profit — since I can’t seem to refuse to help anyone — and give just a bit more of my free time to another cause who needs me. But that’s not it, I told myself as I signed up to join the marketing committee, mentally calculating how in the world I was going to make this work with my already jam-packed schedule.
I decided to give the party another hour while I mingled and moved about, desperately trying to find the source of this lingering voice that made me come to the party to begin with. But the minutes came and they ended, and I was still uncertain of why exactly I was drawn to this establishment, and I started to doubt my ability to distinguish between intuition and restlessness. As I started to make my way to the front, I started to lose the voice I had heard all week, and I decided that maybe, my imagination was just getting the best of me. Or was it my ever-hopeful heart?
After closing my tab and unchecking my coat, I glanced at my phone to see a number that only started texting me the day before. The number, those 10 unsaved digits that meant really nothing to me, wanted to buy me a drink on the Upper West Side. Tonight. Like in an hour.
Then suddenly the voice was back. It just had the time frame all off. And the actual location. But it returned with more clarity. It wasn’t screaming or demanding and it didn’t need any words, I already knew its directions: go. Just say yes. Without hesitation, I agreed. I listened.
And you know what happens when you listen? You get rewarded for following your heart and trusting in its timing and its patience. When you listen… you sometimes get lucky enough to meet someone who really, truly, for the first time in a very long time, could be… someone.