A man pulls a glossy booklet from its wrapper two seats down my row. My scowl over his crinkly inconsideration goes unnoticed. He is looking at one of the jumbotrons with its subtitles appearing in delayed and faulty blocks of text. But I didn’t travel 893 miles and spend a thousand dollars to watch our teacher on yet another screen. I focus my eyes back on the distant podium, my head beginning to ache from the squinting.

On my lap is my worn booklet, highlighted and underlined. I know, though, that anything worth the price of admission is too valuable to simply print in the supplementary copy. So I sit. And listen carefully.

I am still listening for the big reveal when the moderator steps onto the stage and thanks us all for coming, announces the teacher will be signing books for anyone who forms a line. I sit stunned until the man with the plastic wrapper asks if he can go ahead of me. Ahead?

I elbow my way to the teacher and blurt my question. His face gently contorts, “You have been through a difficult season and are feeling hurt and lost. I am so sorry for what you have endured.” 

I wait. I wait for the second half of what he is going to say, for the payoff, for the secrets that every workbook, trailer, and sales associate promised. “So,” I falter, “what should I do?”

His eyebrows raise. “That’s a good question,” he says. A long pause. “Some things remain a mystery.”

Before I know what I’m doing, my hands grab his shirt. I hear myself scream but I know now that he is just like me and no answers are going to come.

One of the security guards gets me in a bear hug. I resist but he looks right into my eyes and says more gently than I thought possible, “You have to let go.” I collapse onto the floor, knowing he is right, and knowing, for the first time in years, that I am going to be okay.

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Eric Radcliffe
Eric Radcliffe (@eric-radcliffe)
7 months ago

Hello Matthew, I can feel the despair in your story, the need for answers, and also the disappointment stressed. You have captured these two emotions perfectly. Well written Matthew,

Christer Norrlof
Christer Norrlof (@christer-norrlof)
6 months ago

This is a very interesting and intriguing story, Matthew. I can feel the desperation of the man who has traveled far and spent a lot of money to have his problem solved, just to realize that it doesn’t happen the way he expects. I love it that it is the security guard who gives him the clue he needs as he gently says, “You have to let go.” That’s wonderful!

Fuji
Fuji (@fuji)
6 months ago

Matthew, your story really spoke to me. I have many friends who have travelled far and wide, or read books, or taken workshops to find “the answers” – in fact, I also was a “seeker” for quite a while. Sounds like the teacher in your story could either be a con artist or a true teacher who realizes that all the answers are within the seeker. Like Christer, I thought it was delightful that it was the security guard who actually led him to his own realization. Good story, excellent writing. Welcome to the club!

Sandra James
Sandra James (@sandra-james)
6 months ago

I am sure the security guard has seen many people with similar dilemmas. A very wise man while the ‘teacher’ earns the big money. Sometimes life is like that and I let out a sigh of relief when the protagonist finally finds peace, albeit in a different way to what he expected. Well done, Matthew 🙂

Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo (@lotchie-carmelo)
6 months ago

The emotions are intense and you captured them perfectly. I was moved by the phrase “You have to let go”. It is too hard to let go especially if you love it so much. But sometimes we need to do it in order to survive and to go on.

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Katy Bizi
Katy Bizi (@katy-bizi)
6 months ago

What an original story that can really reach a lot of people. You’ve found a great way to inspire us all. Thank you!

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