“We all have questions about how we will die,” Teacher says. “Some go into life head-first, not afraid of the end. Others, however, live in fear, afraid of taking a step.”
Good Student, Hope, shoots her hand into the air. When he acknowledges her, “But what if we make a wrong choice? What if the step we take is going the wrong way?”
“Wrong choice? I don’t think you understand, my dear.”
She shakes her head, as if trying to get through the cobwebs.
“The only wrong choice is the one not made. You are on this plane of existence to make decisions. Taking a stand and making a choice. Not taking sides is like …” His voice wanders as he searches for something in his desk.
Then, “Got it!”
He dives his hand into the deep side drawer and pulls out a flat-topped, wide-brimmed blue bullfighter hat with purple tassles hanging off the brim. “Toro!” he declares.
He twirls on his stage and changes his clothes. Suddenly, he’s a flamboyant purple and blue matador de toros – a killer of bulls.
“Let’s say you’re in the ring, the angry-as-##ck bull pounding the ground and imagining ways to best gore you. Where do you go when he starts running?”
He leans over the desk of our newest student, Clyde.
“Tell me, young man, where do you go?”
“Um …. the other way?” he squeaks.
“A-ha,” Teacher says, turning from him, his hand caressing the non-existent beard on his clean-shaven chin. “So you choose to run away. That’s a choice.”
“Get a clue, Clyde,” says our ever-faithful Irreverent Student, “you run from a bull he’ll gore you in the ass. Clueless.”
“Now, Irreverent, do not judge. Your classmate Clyde has made a decision. What would you have done?”
“I wouldn’t have been there.”
“Not an option. What would you have done?”
“This is stupid.” Irreverent rotates in his seat, as if threatening to leave.
“Alright then. So while Clever Clyde over here runs for his life, you have decided to not decide. That’s a pretty easy decision for our friend, the bull, isn’t it?”
“That’s not fair,” Irreverent collapses deeper into his seat.
“What if we decide to stab the bull as it passes by us?” I ask, hoping for an option to standing still.
“Yeah, that’s what I’d do,” Irreverent perks up. “What Writer said.”
“That is one option also.” He walks away from my classmate, “But that was not your choice. That was hers. You have only decided to copy her.”
Speaking out in the defense of classmates who have chosen to follow others’ examples, “But isn’t that a healthy decision? One made on prior knowledge?”
“Trust you to find a loophole, dear Writer,” Teacher smiles, “but please understand that slow, thoughtful decisions sometimes come too late to make a difference. What if you decide to stab the bull after he’s gored you?”
He turns to the classroom.
“Please understand, dear students, this life is one of decisions. Every choice you make is the right choice for you at that time. Do not second-guess yourself. Do not doubt yourself.”
He makes a swoop of his arm, as if he’s ready to end the lesson, but the dragonfly continues to speak as the voice of our teacher booms from everywhere and nowhere at the same time.
“Have faith in your choices. Own them and accept them as your own. And believe that everything will work out for the best.”
The dragonfly alights on the edge of my desk.
“In the end, all will be as it should be. Your focus is your destiny, so focus wisely. That is the lesson I leave you with today.”
My classmates leave the room, believing class is over, but “We’re not done, are we, Teacher?”
I extend my index finger, onto which the dragonfly settles. His eyes, wide and clear, lock into mine, pulling me into their blue depths.
“As you make decisions, dear Writer, please understand one thing. Every choice you make is not made alone. You have an army of friends ready to follow you into the most difficult situations. We will carry you through the eye of the storm.”
“What friends, Teacher?”
“Friends you don’t remember.”
Class dismissed, dear friends.
The Dragonfly’s Student