The Greatest Networkers in the World— Chapter 2: To Speak the Truth
To Speak the Truth
Time literally crawled by on its hands and knees that next day.
Besides, it was Friday – and Fridays were like that anyway.
At 3:30, I simply couldn’t take it any more and left the office.
I pulled out the address he had given me in the restaurant, grabbed my map to be sure of my directions, and headed north out of town.
I would be a full hour early – even if I did get lost. Heck with it, I thought, I’ll read or listen to tapes. Then I laughed, thinking of the book
he gave me. That’s it, I’ll read that, I said to myself, and laughed aloud.
In about 10 minutes, I was out of town and into the suburbs. Another 20 minutes, and I was driving through the rolling green and earth-brown hills of farm country that spread out like a checkered picnic blanket all the way up to the mountains north of the city.
What a day… a ‘Chamber of Commerce day’ – the kind they picture on postcards. A motorcycle day, I thought, bringing back memories.
The sun was bright. The clouds were big and fluffy and I made animals out of their shapes as I drove along. I started singing – then abruptly turned on the radio – and then noticed what I’d just done.
“How can I feel self-conscious while driving alone in my own car?” I thought silently. “What a funny man I am.”
I had a pretty good idea of what his house would look like from our conversation on the way back from the restaurant. He told me I’d see it up on the hill beyond the pond through the trees as soon as I turned
onto Huckleberry Lane and saw the long, gray, four-board wooden fence on my right.
Sure enough, there was the fence. I pulled over off the road, stopped my car, and leaned forward over the steering wheel to get a good look at the house and the property.
I don’t know what architectural style it was. Not Tudor – that’s the one with all that criss-crossed wood – but it was some kind of English looking. Big, but not overly imposing, although it certainly was, well… more than any house I’d ever visited before. It looked like something you’d see in a Jag or Rolls Royce ad in Architectural Digest.
This was a card-carrying estate!
There were a number of buildings around the main house.
One was clearly a horse barn with a number of double-Dutch doors across the face of it. One looked like a small version of the big house – a guest house or carriage house, or something. There were a couple of others as well. All the buildings were painted the same light gray as the fence, with the woodwork a darker, charcoal gray, and all were covered with ivy. Everything was surrounded by trees – huge oaks, maples and pines. They were tall enough to have been there forever. Lots of shrubbery and flower gardens, too.
It was simply magnificent! In fact, this was the kind of home I’d always dreamed of having.
From the road, the grounds all looked quite manicured, although there were woods to my right and they had a fair amount of underbrush mixed in among the trees.
And horses… there were six – no, eight of them grazing in the fields between the house and the road, maybe more. Beautiful horses, thoroughbreds by the look of them, and three were grays. I love horses
- especially dapple gray ones. It had been a dream of mine to have horses, too. I got out to take a closer look.
As I got up to the paddock fence, I called out to the nearest of the horses. It lifted its head, saw me and immediately started trotting in my direction.
Just then, I noticed a horse and rider coming out of the near woods, cantering towards me. It was him.
The gray mare I’d called to and the Greatest Networker reached me at the same time.
“Well, you certainly got her attention. She doesn’t come to just anybody. Rebecca’s the only one she pays attention to,” he said, swinging his leg over his mount’s neck and sliding off the saddle in one easy, flowing movement. He’s done that before, I thought.
“It’s good to see you. You’re an hour early,” he noted without looking at his watch. “How are you?” He walked over to me and extended his hand between the top rails of the fence.
“I’m good,” I replied, “…and a little nervous.”
He laughed, another one of those booming laughs of his, and said, “You do learn quickly. Thanks for being so honest. What are you nervous about?”
“Well,” I said as I pointed in a sweeping gesture that took in his property, “this isn’t where I usually find myself on a Friday afternoon.
This is… well… this is a pretty awesome place you’ve got.”
“Yes, it is,” he replied, joining me in looking appreciatively over the house, woods and fields.
“You know,” I told him, “I have a dream of owning a place very much like this: horses, house, trees, and fields.”
“Good,” he said, “would you like to buy it?”
“What?!” I exclaimed.
“I’ll sell it to you,” he said, turning and looking me straight in the eyes in that provoking, gently confronting way of his.
“I doubt it’s within my budget at the moment,” I said, sarcastically.
“I don’t remember saying how much I’d sell it for – did I?”
“No,” I admitted, “you didn’t.”
“So how do you know whether or not it’s within your budget?” he asked.
“Okay,” I sighed. “How much?”
“Two point six million,” he stated flatly. “Do you want to buy it?”
“Stop it!” I insisted – becoming irritated and letting it show.
“This is ridiculous. You know I don’t have that kind of money!”
“I don’t know that,” he said, looking calmly at me.
“And that’s not what I asked. I asked if you wanted to buy it. Do you – yes or no?”
“This is pointless,” I snapped. “I can’t even conceive of that much money. “How…” He held up his hand – I stopped talking. I could feel the color flushing my cheeks. My legs had even started shaking. It was like I was about to get into a fight or something, and I was afraid.
“Yes or no?” he asked again. “Do you want to buy my house?”
“No. Don’t be absurd,” I said.
“I am not being absurd,” he said. “However – you are! One of the most absurd things a person can do is to not tell the truth.”
“W-what?” I stammered, amazed.
“You are lying,” he said sternly. His eyes looked both mischievous and dead serious at the same time. I was stunned.
“Please,” he prodded gently, “tell me if what I am about to say is true or not: You would love nothing more in this world than to buy my house. It would be a dream come true for you. I am not asking if you have the money. I am asking simply if you would like to buy my house – yes, or no?”
“Well, if you put it that way – yes, I’d love to buy your house.”
He sighed, took a deep breath and smiled. “I do put it that way,” he quoted me back to myself. “Tell me, do you often have difficulty answering the questions people ask you?”
“Well… ” I started, but then shook my head and fell silent. I looked up at him, trying to read something from his face – hoping to find the right
answer there somewhere.
“There is no right answer,” he said, as if reading my mind. “There is only your answer, right now, to the question.”
We stood in silence for some time. He – looking at me. Me – looking anywhere else but at him. When my eyes finally got up the courage to settle on his, he said, “Look, in our relationship together, I insist that you and I speak the truth. I think that will be difficult for you, because you don’t listen, not yet. What you hear me saying is colored by what you say to yourself about what I am saying. Is that true?”
“Yes, it is,” I told him.
He nodded and went on. “Did you read the book I gave you last night?”
I didn’t know what to say to him. How do you read a book without a word in it?
“Yes or no?” he asked, patiently.
“Yes,” I said.
“Well, what did you think?”
“I don’t know… ”
“Good!” he exclaimed.
“Come on up to the house and tell me all about it.”
I turned and numbly fumbled back to my car. I wasn’t sure what to think. And so, for the moment, I tried to think nothing, and just
watch where I was going.
Click here to read: Chapter 3: The Secret Revealed