by Ashley Whitham
Please sit comfortably, with your eyes closed.
You’re sitting on the floor. You’ve been sitting here for… days? Has it been a week yet? Time doesn’t really matter here. You’re with friends, but it’s hardly a party. Everyone is just sitting, staring at the floor. You’re all just exhausted from the emotional roller coaster. Your teacher was killed, and then his body went missing. And then about a week ago, he showed up here, giving instructions before disappearing again. And now, you just feel lonely, empty, lost.
Your teacher. Friend, comforter, confidante, mentor, father, brother, guide. The reason you got up in the morning. You followed him all over the country. Life with him was unexpected. Sometimes, you still wake up so excited for what your teacher will be doing that day… before you remember that he’s not here anymore. And then you just sit here, on the floor.
Suddenly a strong wind blows through the window. You feel it across the back of your neck. You instantly sit up straight; your eyes open wider. “What is this?” you wonder. Your head raises and your eyes meet with others across the room. Your heartbeat quickens. Your leg starts to bounce. There’s a buzz, an energy in the room that wasn’t there before. One loud, collective thought echoes silently through everyone. “What is this?”
You’re not sure who moves first, but everyone starts scrambling towards the windows. You try looking out, but too many people made it there before you. You and some others start running up to the roof. When you reach the roof, your heart is pounding out of your chest. You inhale deeply, and it feels like the first breath of fresh air you’ve had in your life! You look over the edge of the roof at the crowds of people in the street… and you feel the wind again.
As the wind blows against the back of your neck, your mind starts to race through memories: the first time you met your teacher, the first time he taught you, the first time you saw him heal someone. These memories that you hadn’t wanted to look at for so many months because of the pain and emptiness you felt, now played like the sweetest of movies. Now there was wholeness and joy in the remembering, and you smile – a real, whole-hearted, authentic smile that you haven’t felt in so long. You see the crowds below looking up at you with curiosity, but you are not embarrassed or bothered. You are just happy.
And then you feel the wind blow again across the back of your neck, and the memories begin falling from your lips. “Hey, did you know my teacher? I have seen the most amazing things in the world because of him!” And you aren’t really sure who’s listening, but you also don’t care.
As you’re speaking, someone from below yells something. You didn’t really understand what he says, but you see your friend downstairs step outside and talk to the crowd. So you turn to the others who came up to the roof, and you notice that you’re all smiling and excited. You wrap your arms around one another with the aching of long lost friends, and head back downstairs to rejoin the others.
As you feel comfortable, you can open your eyes.