Sometimes you can tell a lot about a person simply by listening to their voice.  Just as eyes are “windows to the soul,” voices can be impressions of the heart.

Visiting a friend in the hospital not long ago, I needed to go to the tenth floor.  Pushing a square glowing button of golden orange with an arrow pointing “UP,” I waited for the elevator.  Shiny doors of silver opened, disappearing into wall spaces on either side allowing me to step in.  Two men huddled near a panel of buttons to the left, chatting like old friends.

Trying to appear occupied, I looked down at a dotted steel floor where I noticed scuff marks of white on navy blue boots.   In my hands, I held a small potted plant.  Waxy green leaves rolled unconsciously between my thumb and forefinger.

The two men seemed to have reconnected after a chance encounter elsewhere in the hospital.  A family lounge?  The cafeteria?  “I still can’t believe it’s you,” one of them said!  “Yeah, it’s been a long time.  Man, its great running into each other,” responded the other, with a pat on the back!

As the elevator lifted up, pitches and tones of the men’s voices took twists and turns within our 5X7 generic space.  Pauses, sigh, sadness and laughter suggested important changes had taken place for each of them.

One of the men had a lilting sound to his voice.  Notes of anticipation that rose higher with each passing floor.  The other sounded resigned yet hopeful.  His voice disguised suffering, I guessed.

Not much time left.  The elevator wall panel told me so.  Glowing buttons highlighted floor numbers soon-to-be.  They hinted farewells were about to take place.

Nervous laughter trickled among the small of our spot.  An air of tension suddenly weighed heavily as we neared the first floor to open.  When doors slid wide a large sign on the back wall read, “Maternity.”  The first man out brushed back his hair nervously to say, “You take care of yourself.”   “Sure will!  Tell your wife, congratulations,” the other man called out.

It was only then that I truly looked at the other man who stood in the corner.  He pushed a lit button with one hand while gripping an IV pole with the other.  Dressed in an oversized hospital gown with very loose jeans, he glanced at me with a slight smile.  Shiny doors closed, silently.  Seconds later, when they opened, I read a different sign.   “Oncology.”

After the man stepped out he turned, whispering familiar words to me.  “Take care of yourself.”  His voice gave me the impression of kindness, sincerity and gentleness.  In time and space of small, my heart had grown large.  He left me feeling like I had known him for most of my years.


32 thoughts on “Impressions

  1. Your post proves that voices can be impressions of the heart. It tells me that there are people on this planet with a purpose. One can’t readily know what his purpose is, but whatever it is we know a thing for certain, that he can take care of himself and can inspire others along the way. Very well-written! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life and commented:
    More expressive and emotive words from Kim Gosselin.. voices in isolation can be very powerful.. I remember listening to my transistor radio as a teenager, at night turned low because it was banned. Mostly music but also out of the darkness a voice many, many miles away talking just to me… My first encounter with my husband was over the telephone when he booked a room in the hotel where I was working.. He has a soft Irish accent in those days.. I came off the phone and announced that I was going to marry that voice…. Has there been a voice that you have heard that has connected to you in some way….. do read the rest of Kim’s post it will delight you.


    • I got chills reading your powerful words as a teen, then of course later, your story of David on the telephone. How you just knew he was the ‘one.’ So romantic, Sally! Voices are indeed ‘gifts of the heart,’ proven so well by your blessed life together. I look forward to hearing his lovely accent one day in the future! Thank you for reblogging this post! Never imagined it would have this much meaning to you or others. Typically we write for ourselves, hoping to touch one or more. Thank you again. With Love.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow, that is a very strong moving story Kim, voices do tell a story and can paint a picture of the owner.
    I once was a reader for the blind in my radio broadcasting days, people would tune into my readings.
    Many years later at a restaurant, a young girl came up to me and touched my face, she said you are Ian, I often wondered what you looked like, was then I noticed the white cane, she recognised my voice.


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