“So the circle of stations on top of your cheesy cylinder are the outermost layer of something?”
Alexandra was in fine form. Outside the coffee shop, the first real day of spring-like weather was in full flow, despite the early hour. We had decided to celebrate this visible end of winter by sitting outside.
I had bought the coffee. Alexandra had brought us a single daffodil around which I had unceremoniously wrapped my watch. She had stared at the gesture but said nothing. The mixture of technology and nature had her bemused.
“They are, indeed, the outer layer of something,” I replied, stroking my finger over the delicate edge of the daffodil’s petals and marvelling at the power of the wave to put into our hands exactly what we need for that point in time.
“A bit like a flower?”
She had caught the inference. “Yes,” I replied. “Just like a flower”
“And we are the flower, with all our petals being the numbers around the enneagram . . ?”
I said nothing, just nodded into her excited eyes. She had always loved the intellectual chase of such things. Becoming a barrister had simply cemented what she had always been good at.
“So the outer – upper – layer of your cheesy cylinder-enneagram is the layer of outer petals of our own flower?”
“Our own unique flower – and sometimes these flowers aren’t so pretty . . .” I let that one hang, watching her digest its implications. “In fact,” I added. “The enneagram is really a flower in reverse, with the most beautiful bits hidden, but otherwise sharing the same principles – the same soil, we might say!”
“Hidden?” She mused on that and sat back, sipping her coffee.
“Hidden in the way that, say, a root is . . .”
I unfolded the computer drawing I had done for her. For the first time, it had a complete list of the ‘sins’ in the penultimate layer of the circle. Each of what I had called the ‘stations’ had been filled in. Before her hungry eyes, there was now a perfect circle of information; and a set of frustratingly empty ‘petals’ to the outside of them.
“But the sins aren’t at the edge!”
“Quite right . . . that’s because modern esoteric psychology has come up with an extension to the sins which gives us a great insight into how each type of person looks at the world – their own world.”
She considered each of my words carefully. There were several new ideas in there, and I watched her tease apart the ends of the threads.
“Each type of person?”
“Yes, although the flowers that we are – cheesy or not – are unique, we all fall into certain types; and these particularly affect the overall way we look at the world.”
“And there are nine types, I assume?”
“Exactly so, each made up of a set of reactions to our infant life.”
“Infant life? So this is all about childhood?” She was leaning forward to be closer to me. The coffee was forgotten.
“Well, yes and no.” I sat back and, infuriatingly, sipped some of my own coffee, before continuing, “Where this type – the outer petals of our flowers – came from is most certainly our infancy. But how we use them to get back is very much about adulthood.”
She was looking at the time. There were only minutes left, and she had about a hundred questions. I could see her breathing had quickened, as she sifted what she wanted – needed – to know before she got onto that weekly train to London.
“Get back; you said get back . . .”
I nodded. She had picked on the very sentiment I had hoped she would. “Yes, get back . . .”
“To where?” She was putting her things back into her black leather handbag; watching the time in an agony of too little information.
“Where do the best signposts take any of us?” I asked, playing the most powerful card I would ever have with this lovely lady.
“Tell me . . . please?”
“Home,” I said softly, looking into her hazel eyes. “Home.”
She was long gone when the waitress brought me the bottle of mineral water and the small, turned wooden vase. I had spotted it, earlier, in the glass case at the back of the cafe. The owners ran a display of work for sale by local artisan painters and craftsmen; and the little vase had exactly met my immediate need.
Life was important – in all its forms, and it’s always been my belief that those with intelligence have a duty to protect and nurture it.
Nine Deadly Sins with Coffee is usually published on Thursdays.