I was looking up. I saw the egg, then I blinked, and when I opened my eyes—he was gone! Not broken or cracked, or shattered irreparably—just gone. And all I saw then was an empty space on the wall. The space where the egg had been. The space where wholeness had been.
Because I was not looking down. If I had looked down, I would have seen Humpty splattered at my feet. An egg cracked open, yoke smearing the ground yellow. Slippery transparent whites oozing from the jagged edges of a shell once perfect and whole.
If I had looked down when I was 14 and 17 and 19, I might have shattered like Humpty. But I was not shattered. I was not looking down. If I had looked down, I might have seen a cracked egg and thought uh-oh, it’s broken! That egg is finished. Finito! And then I might have thought I was finished too.
And all the king’s horses, and all the king’s men, Could not put Humpty-Dumpty back together again.
Really? How surprising is that? Why didn’t anyone think to call the Ladies-in-Waiting? Ladies, waiting or not, know about eggs. How they appear and disappear at regular intervals. Do the king’s men have bodies like that?
I waited for Humpty to come back. My name is Nancy Wait. To wait is not a passive thing. Not at all. To ‘wait’ means to be in a constant state of readiness. Instead of calling the king’s men, I would have called the Ladies-in-Waiting.
Humpty-Dumpty had a great fall.
Between seeing Humpty up on the wall, and seeing the egg cracked open, there was a period of sailing through the air. There was an in-flight-ness. A voyage before landing. In the blink of an eye—a voyage!
Gravity brought him down. And finally, I had to look down too. But by that time, the yolk had turned hard and crumbled to dust. The white had soaked into the earth. All that was left was the cracked pieces of shell. I think it made a difference, not seeing the spillage, because when I look back at disruptions in my life, I don’t see guts spilled on the ground. I see pieces and cracked bits. I see brokenness, and I see me, sailing on.