Say my name, Teacher

“What do you need, my dear.” I hear his voice, but Teacher is nowhere around. Then I see him.

The brilliant blue and purple dragonfly is perched on the stick that used to support a purple orchid but now just waits for a new bloom to appear. He tilts his head toward me and seems to blink his eyes before lifting off toward the edge of the patio of my apartment. He hovers over a spot, goes vertical and spins until Teacher materializes. He shakes his arms as if to verify the transformation before stepping toward me.

“Is this better?”

“Yes, sir. Please sit. Would you like something to drink?”

“Oh, niceties? Are we avoiding something?” A quirky smile appears on his face.

“No. Of course not. What would I be avoiding?” I call out from the kitchen. “Is water okay?”

“Yes, my dear.”

I hand him the glass. The ice tinkles musically as he makes his finger a swizel stick.

“Are you having a little identity problem, dear Writer?”

“Um, yeah, I guess, Sir.” I shrug, embarrassed to admit what I’m finally going to say. “Sir, when I came here I came from somewhere. I had a name. I had a family. I had a job.”

“Yes. That is true. Do you regret following me?”

“Never. I will never regret doing this.” I pause, going over the list in my head. I don’t want to drown him with my questions, but I also don’t want to forget anything.

“Faith,” he says, matter-of-factly.

“What?”

“Your name. You can’t remember your name. Wasn’t that one of your questions?”

Mouth agape, I nod.

“Your name is Faith.”

I can’t remember my other questions.

“Actually, your name is more like music than a word. It is the song of an early morning dawn or the whisper of a nightingale. It is a beautiful name.” His voice itself sounds like a song as he sings the praises of my name. I wanted to ask what I’m supposed to do with my life. I wanted to know if I’m supposed to write for him. I wanted to ask why I can’t remember, but it doesn’t matter. I am Faith. Nothing else matters.

“Are you happy now, dear Writer?”

“I am very happy. Please, call me by my name.” I never thought I would want to release my Writer title, but now I have a name to identify myself. I am not a job, I am Faith.

“The name feels right? You have been searching for your name, haven’t you?”

I nod.

“And now that you know who you are –”

“Everything is right. It’s like I’m still the same person, but now this name is giving me a sense of validation – I am not something, I am me.”

“Will you still be my writer?” It’s a question, but there is no real question in his voice. He knows the truth.

“Oh, most definitely! But now I am not defined by what I am. I am not just a writer or a student or a former teacher.

“I am Faith.”

He looks at me, his hand cradling his chin. “Is there a lesson in this, dear Faith?”

Shrugging, I turn my thoughts into myself. What is the lesson?

“Um, well …” I look into his face hoping for some inspiration.

“Are you the same person you were before you found your name?”

“Well, yeah, but it’s not that.” Invigorated, I walk toward the window to gather my argument. “I’m the same person I was without the name, but now I know I am not a job to everyone else. I am a person with a name, and I guess I really shouldn’t care what other people think, but I guess I was starting to believe that I could only be the Writer, that that was my only existence.”

Turning toward him, I spread my arms out. “I am not what I love to do, I am a being who loves living. The writing is what I love to do, it is not who I am. I guess that can be said for anyone. Irreverent is not only an impertinent student, he is Ivan and he is curious and kind and bold.”

I look at Teacher and the truth hits me.

“I guess it’s true for you, too, Teacher. You are more than a Teacher.”

He smiles. “I certainly am more.”

Silently, he nods and bids me goodbye without saying more or telling me his name.

I guess once we know who we are, we don’t have to make a show of it.

Namaste, dear friends.

 The Dragonfly’s Student

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