Monday, June 02, 2014

Stations of the Breath - Part Six

Continued from parts One, Two, Three, Four, Five and Interlude

Not everything matters, but everything happens.  

Monday morning in the last week of March, 1985.

I walked into school early, close to 8:00am when my classes didn’t begin until nine. A few years before I would have shuddered at the idea of arriving early at school, but I had come to enjoy and depend on that routine.

Three people were sitting on the floor against their lockers a few feet away from my own; Madeline and a flute player named Lilia on the other side of hall, and Lloyd sitting closer to me. They were talking softly to themselves when I walked in and stopped when I reached my locker.

I remember this, but didn't particularly notice it at the time. Nothing struck me as unusual.

“Did you see the Oscars last night?” I asked the group. “Prince won and showed up wearing a ridiculous purple snood."

Nobody said anything. Lloyd looked at me and didn’t smile and almost imperceptibly shook his head. Madeline didn’t look up from the floor. Lilia looked like she’d been crying and said “Michael? I still have your 'Purple Rain' sheet music. I’ll bring it back in a few days, is that okay?”

“There’s no rush,” I told her, wondering why this would be something to be upset about.

I thought I’d walked into something that wasn't my business. I turned to my locker, stashed my coat and bag and sat down to my textbooks. Ingrid (a violinist, I think) walked in a few minutes later and Lilia stood up in tears within seconds, burying her head in Ingrid's shoulder. Ingrid held her composure for a few seconds before until Lilia's sobs grew louder and her own eyes began to water.

I stood up for want of something to do - maybe to ask if I could help or to just leave the hallway and not be unwanted company. I glanced at Madeline, who looked sick with tears in her eyes but not exactly crying; I'd either missed it or she was just getting started. Lilia's sobs were getting louder and Lloyd was watching the three girls slowly, looking like he was going to say something.

He didn't have to.

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