Rather than speak from a stage, the famous researcher has chosen an informal setting. The Cheshire Lounge in the Student Union has high ceilings, tall thin windows, magnificent rugs of various sizes and shapes on a dark hardwood floor, and an asortment of stuffed chairs, stick chairs, sofas, and benches strewn about the room.

The famous researcher has been going now for about an hour, and he doesn’t look to be stopping anytime soon. He has already delved into detail on any number of topics, at the bottom of each talking point arriving at something he keeps referring to as ‘the red thread.’

“So we glimpse yet again,” he keeps saying, “the red thread which runs through it all.”

At first, I wasn’t following him at all. I mean, I could comprehend fairly well what he was saying about each subject… My vocabulary in general is fine, and I’m decently strong on the argot of most of the fields he was referencing – soft sciences, mainly: psychology and linguistics, sociology and anthropology, comparative literature… I could even follow for the most part his asides into physics, computer science and such. But his red thread eluded me. I wanted him to give some sort of a working definition of this term, but so far he hadn’t even hinted, as far as I could tell, at what he actually meant by it.

Due to the deliberately haphazzard arrangement of furniture in The Cheshire Lounge, practically none of us who had come to hear the famous researcher’s talk were squared away to face him directly. Unless we craned our necks to look at him, our gazes fell randomly on the windows, the art on the walls, each other… Personally, I’d been dividing my visual attention in equal measure among three sights: the entryway from the hall, a space which filled every few minutes with somebody looking in just long enough to see that every sitting surface in the room was occupied; the back of the head of the honey in the chair nearest mine, whom I knew glancingly, we two having had the same philosophy lecture a few semesters prior; and the t-shirt of a guy across the room, which I could just make out over the honey’s shoulder.

Just as the famous researcher reaches the red thread again, this time at the heart of an in depth description of an ancient Asian legend about soul mates or something, the honey twists and sweeps her hair up with one hand into a loose bun sort of configuration and holds it there, exposing the graceful curve of one smallish ear and the tender nape of her neck, where I spot a fetching off-center birthmark or mole. The sun chooses that moment to shaft through a window directly onto her hand, hair, and nape. I’m staring, transfixed.

“…the red thread which winds through and through, intertwining and binding…”

God, I think, the famous researcher is a poet.

“…the strand that bands the many into the one…”

Still bereft of a grasp on what he means, I find myself nodding – whether in agreement, consent, or surrender, I don’t know.

Thanks, Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie, for the photo prompt.