The old philanderer described the art of stealing the heart of a woman as the hardest of tasks, ‘….but the easiest of victories.’ He said it all boiled down to listening for their rhythm and then learning to dance in time to the music. ‘You watch the rise and fall of their breathing….but look at their eyes.’ He paused and Josep unconsciously began to change his breathing to match the rhythmic rise and fall of Charalambus’ chest. ‘To become attuned to their inner music all you do is listen.’ The old rogue cocked his head to one side and waited for two heart beats before continuing. ‘Breath in time….listen to the song….play with their words….discover their meaning….’ Again he paused and watched as Josep rocked back and forth keeping time to the gentle rhythmic ebb and flow of his words. The attentive boy’s eyes were half closed, heavy with sleep. ‘Listen to them….listen….for patterns….rhythms….say very little….dance in time to their music….’ Charalambus seemed to sway and his hypnotic delivery gave the suggestive lyric an extra dimension. Josep was seduced by their power and continued to breath deeply as the poetic old charmer toyed skilfully with his naïve young ward’s lack of sophistication. ‘….ask what they like….how they feel….what makes them happy….show them you care….ask them to say more….give them what they want….tell them you care….’
The old rogue waited several minutes before returning to his hypnotic theme. ‘Always talk about them….reflect yourself in their words….do not give yourself away….be what they want you to be….let them think that…. only they…. know you….that only they ….know your story….you only have time for them….they are….the most important….thing in this world….you would die for them….without them….and then….They will melt in your arms.’
Charalambus paused to sip coffee and gaze at the entranced youth. He waited whilst the boy swayed to a silent internal rhythm as old as time. The music of the vast wild grasslands seemed to compliment Josep’s reverie. Toads croaked their mating call from the sandy wet soil, flying insects danced across the murky water, whilst skaters slid in ever increasing circles. High overhead plovers, sedge wrens and larks wheeled as hawks darted and dived, whilst on the furthest edge of the outstretched branch of an old oak tree one old black crow sat and stared dolefully down. Charalambus raised his hand and tipped the cup in a gesture of acknowledgement and the old bird cawed harshly before it flapped its weary wings and flew away. Had Josep been of a mind to closely follow this brief interlude he might have been surprised to see the big black crow flip lazily over and fly off like a swimmer doing the back stroke.