While I sat on the steps a man descended toward me. His clothes and face were obsidian-streaked. He looked like he’d just come down a chimney.
He approached me and met my gaze. He looked upset, so I stood and said hello.
“Shersh,” he said.
I raised my eyebrows and he continued. Word-like sounds formed sentencey strings, and I allowed eye-contact.
He continued to speak. It did occur to me that I had other things I could be doing which would make more sense to me. But as I returned my attention to his eyes, his tone mellowed.
His sounds, which reminded me of the Swedish Chef more than a little at first, coalesced into a pattern.
They found punctuation. It arranged itself into calm and assured periods.
Each line finished with a similar sound to the end of the previous one. He was rhyming, and I began to enjoy the cadence.
After about a minute and a half, he concluded with a sound both wistful and assured.
He then offered me his hand, which I shook. He exhaled and with a small smile and a nod, went on his way.
I really have no idea whether I was given a recital in a Nordic language I do not myself speak, or whether his tongue was working outside the confines of the 7,000 or so languages more than one human speaks.
I’m certain I was gifted poetry this morning.