This story exposes the truth of a woman…
…who handled the customer service desk at a bank.
Because this woman possessed extraordinary patience and diplomacy, she made that difficult job seem relatively easy.
As a result, most took her for granted…
That is, except for one especially perceptive customer, who told her, “You are extraordinary indeed!”
“No,” she said, “I’m just an ordinary person doing an ordinary job.”
“Such modesty! Extra extraordinary!”
Running his bony fingers through his beard, he continued: “I have an offer for you—an extraordinary job with extraordinary rewards.”
“Actually, I’m quite happy here.”
But though skeptical, the woman was intrigued. Those who are secretly extraordinary often secretly desire something more…
So she heard him out—listened to his absurd proposal. Beyond nonsense it was.
When he said, in parting, “At least consider it,” she answered, “Okay, I will”, though her thought was: “absolutely no way”.
And yet, three days later, on the next bank holiday, she stood at the bottom of a hill by the park near the edge of town, trying to make a final decision…
I know that old man’s just playing a prank, she told herself. But I do need the exercise. And besides, I’ve never been to the top of this hill.
And so, following his instruction, she slowly began to wind her way up the green hillside.
As she rose, the hill transformed. The air grew cold. Jagged rocks replaced the soft grass. Wisps of fog blew in, obscuring all around her, obscuring the summit.
The climb became both steeper than expected and longer than expected.
The bank woman knew she should go back, yet hated to stop. Finally, after much grappling and heaving, she arrived at the top…
On the peak, just above her head, she found a thick flat slab of rock. And on the rock, a nest the size of a lifeboat—an intricate weave of delicate reeds.
In the nest sat a single golden egg—big enough to fit someone her size inside or even someone larger.
She reeled from the shock of that sight. Though the old man had told her what she’d find, she said, “I’m not seeing what I’m seeing.”
Something so extraordinary couldn’t possibly be part of her ordinary world.
But as she ran her hand over its smooth cool surface, the woman had to admit the egg felt real enough.
Get the hell down from here right now, she told herself.
But as she turned away, she remembered an extraordinary incident from her ordinary childhood:
One summer afternoon in the garden, she’d heard a small high voice say, “Help me!”
Looking down, she’d found a green caterpillar standing up on the leaf of a rubber plant…
…and immediately run away. However, a few moments later, curiosity bested her fear and she returned…
…only to discover the caterpillar gone. As an adult, she doubted what she’d heard and seen then. Nonetheless, she still felt a sense of opportunity lost.
And so, once again, she decided to do as the wise one had instructed. She pawed and scrambled and kicked until she’d hoisted herself atop the golden egg.
She then planted herself, cross-legged, and waited. The old man had not said what might hatch—or if anything actually would. He’d only said: sit still.
But as the minutes became an hour, and that hour became another hour, the woman of the bank felt more and more the fool…
Definitely a joke on me, she told herself. Maybe there’s a hidden video camera. I could become a laughingstock. Serves me right, I suppose.
She then blinked once, twice, three times—trying to clear a gray speck from her field of vision…
But that speck quickly became a feathered gray dart. Then that dart became an eagle headed straight toward her.
When she caught sight of its piercing golden eyes, the breath stuck in her throat. Her bowels loosened a little too much. Goosebumps peppered her arms.
Nonetheless, she managed to slide down from the egg with care and patience. She lowered her head in a servile manner as the dark heat of the eagle fell over her.
Suddenly, the fabric of her jacket lifted at the shoulders. Her feet left the ground, her legs dangled free…
Forcing her eyes open, she saw their small shadow passing over the patchwork of farm fields below—like a manta ray it moved. She felt a gust of wind every time the eagle flapped its wings down.
She realized they were headed in the direction of the town lake. She feared its cold deep waters.
Death seemed not only a possibility but a probability. But what could she do? An idea occurred to her—a silly idea it was—but at the moment, she saw no better option. She would do what she knew best. She would talk to the mother eagle as if to an irate bank customer:
“Ma’am, I believe we can settle this matter to everyone’s satisfaction…”
With the reassuring calm of an airline pilot, she drawled on and on. She talked of the miracle of birth. She spoke of a mother’s protective love. She cooed. She hymned.
And in short time, the eagle turned away from the lake. But did the woman’s soothing sounds actually move the big bird to mercy? Were her honeyed tones the reason the eagle coasted delicately down…
…and deposited her back in the park?
All we can say for certain is: that bank woman acted with extraordinary poise under the circumstances.
However, even an extraordinary person needs an extra day off to settle her nerves after such an extraordinary event.
When she returned, everyone told her, “We’re so glad you’re back—no one can handle the customer service desk the way you can.”
Yes, she felt gratified. But after her experience with the eagle, she began to wonder if there might be more to herself than she realized. She decided she needed to discover the truth of who she was—she would not run away!
Besides, maybe it’s time I step aside and let someone else learn the desk, she told herself. Let someone else reap the benefit of this education—obviously, it can help you in many areas of life.
Some claim, after she left the bank, the extraordinary woman reconnected with the old wise man and learned much from him.
I don’t know, but I don’t think so. I think she’s quite capable of learning what she needs to learn by following her own self.
That wise man had already served his purpose: he’d provided a little push…
She’d only responded to the push because she felt pulled in that direction. That extraordinary direction.
© 2018, Michael R. Patton
sky rope poetry blog