He remembers taking an acting class, he says in his head – not wanting to tell it aloud, where you paired off, the students, and you were made to sit facing your partner, in these horrendous metal folding chairs, your knees basically touching, and forced to stare, for what felt like hours at one another. Not talking. Just staring.
To break down that wall we tend to build up, the teacher said, to break that pattern we tend to fall into of avoiding eye contact – of wanting to remove ourselves from just being human, together.
There’s an intimacy you have to know in order to do what you do. To understand your partner in ways that is beyond observational. To be intimate. Without touching. No words.
To just allow ourselves to just be.
With each other. Without speaking.
It’s a challenge, the teacher said, to push yourself past the point of wanting to flee from their stare. To bring them to a place where they don’t want to look away from you – a trust – that you can handle and hold their stare without judgement.
That they’ll do the same for you.
It’s a trust that’s hard to imitate.
So you have to learn how to just do it.