For some time, I have been meaning to write about time. That we are all trapped inside time. That no look-ahead is afforded to us, even for five seconds. That we have to patiently go with the flow of time, while that inner voice inside us (is it inside our head? sometimes I locate it in my chest, I used to feel it originating from within my jaw when I was a kid) goes on screaming: what next? what’s going to happen? yes or no?
I had too many opportunities to ponder on the matter last summer. A broken promise to send a text message (the sender having fallen asleep) resulting in three hours of sleeplessness that night. Being feverish and getting into a cab to catch a night flight back to the Outpost, only to realise 10 minutes later that the briefcase (containing passport, air tickets, memory stick, money, documents) that should be sitting on the lap had been left on the pavement where the cab was caught: endless long moments until safe retrieval. And so on, and so forth.
So, when Francis hails the in-between, he probably has only quiet and serene gaps in mind. Not waiting for operation outcomes, not spending days waiting for life-changing decisions on behalf of others, not fearing the worst during ungodly hours, not spending months in penury and joblessness, not waiting inside delayed aircraft to reach the beloved one, not spending years waiting for love. Judging from his examples (a pause between parts of the Gloria of Bach’s Mass in B minor, a train trip), I believe this is the case.
The gaps between things can be indeed “life’s most unappreciated pleasures”. Or they can be tortuous ordeals.