Everyone is talking about it. Days rife with expectation—who will it be? And when? It’s all over the media. There is cause for excitement. A Mystery Guest is soon to appear and our desultory lives will be forever altered. At least momentarily. How will She do it? He or She?
There is rampant speculation. Not a day passes without someone claiming to have figured out the Guest’s identity. Suppositions put forward as evidence: alignment of constellations, migration patterns of the monarchs, symbology of this week’s winning Lotto numbers. Then someone else steps forward to debunk this avouchment. Until the next proof.
So summer passes. News of war and government eclipsed by coverage of celebrity trials and predictions about the Mystery Guest. Will it be politician or movie star? Sports hero or religious leader? Some even posit a return from the dead—Ghandi or Queen Elizabeth. But every person we can name leaves us feeling vaguely let down—surely it’s someone better than that—so we imagine it will be someone ever bigger, more powerful, someone whose name just hasn’t come to us yet.
Not a few have confused this with another long-anticipated arrival. From many pulpits it’s been declaimed that the Mystery Guest will be none other than Jesus Christ, returned to earth to call us to account. The Second Coming as ultimate reality show.
Will the Guest arrive by limo or by helicopter? Will He appear before our eyes in a burst of flame, or saunter in and stand in the back, incognito. Will She wear Halston or Dior? Jewels from Harry Winston?
Will we recognize Him on the spot, or will it dawn on us slowly, full realization perhaps not occurring until the event is over? Then we’ll smack our foreheads with a sharp intake of breath, impatient with ourselves—how could we not have seen? Did you know, right away?
What gets us through each day—through the traffic and the shootings—is knowing how good we’re going to feel once the Guest has appeared. Lighter and yet more fulfilled. Deepened, yet lifted. It helps us to feel better now, knowing how great we’ll be feeling soon.
I don’t so much see as sense Her, hovering at the periphery as I dash between appointments. Sometimes when the freeway’s jammed and I’m stopped, I’ll catch, from the corner of an eye, the gentle incline of her head, note a quality of grace in Her gestures.
Or on the telephone, sometimes an echo, a second’s lag behind my own speech. Her words are somehow kinder. She wears my hands.