I opened my mouth to speak, but a much better point was made. This was as much to my surprise as to everyone else’s. Initially stunned, agreement followed. The first few exclaimed, “That’s it!” and then soon others “Yes, that’s the answer to this whole thing!” I was right but I didn’t realise why. Not straight away at least. In time I understood what I had said and like everyone else, agreed wholeheartedly. But I had not the slightest inkling of where the thought had come from. In fact, I intended to say something else, but a garbled mix of two sentences using mostly all the same words, but with entirely different meaning, was brought forth to unanimous praise.

Soon my words spread and so did their effect. Further afield at first, in a formation that felt like a growing puddle pushing out the periphery. When a video of the event surfaced, that puddle was smeared everywhere at once. In every pocket of each city, suburb and township, the ideas that those unauthored words had encouraged were proliferating in every forum that would hear them.

Commentators were referring to it as the ‘spark’. But unbeknownst to its followers it was a struck not like flint but like a fumbled cigarette igniting the bush that nonetheless spread into wildfire.

I realised the easiest option was to try to keep my mouth shut from then on. And I felt no shame letting others take what they wanted or needed from it – my words were ringing true and that was the main thing.

I have to admit though that it was very exciting. Flattering words were bestowed upon me and the personal and social benefits flowed. I was aware of time and as I continued to offer no new thinking, I became hypersensitive of people’s attention. I still felt responsible for a unity, to be at the forefront, but I was basking in a fading glow. Right when they expected the most, I had the least to give.