You walk into the room with measured steps of trepidation and longing.
This is your first time back.
Lights flicker and catch to reveal a bodiless void that is
your theater, your stadium, your arena.
When you left, you didn’t know what leaving meant;
Now you do.
You have never felt more alone.
The tear catches you by surprise,
rims the eye and courses down the cheek.
One meaningful drop.
Then others, impatient, like students lining up for recess.
You were made for more than an empty room.
Your entire essence has become a source of inspiration,
An electric stream of nuclear energy,
a power beyond explanation, beyond reason,
….A force from which others draw life.
Regret storms your soul for the inability to say goodbye,
To experience with them, at once
a communal closure and a bidding of good luck
for their next bold but tremulous step
on their journey into the world.
A goodbye that beckons a return
and a remembrance
and a look back at
where you’ve been
and at the ones who’ve shaped your life.
A goodbye that says “I’ve taught you, but you have taught me more.”
You want to tell them with,
“I’ve learned from you
….about life, about joy,
….about pain, about hope,
….about the inexplicable wonder that comes from engaging another human soul
….in a common experience that moves us both
….beyond ourselves and into the stream
….….of all humanity,
….Unique and quite the same.
Yes, we have taught each other, but you have taught me more.
I have laughed with you.
I have cried with you.
I have nurtured you, and
I have loved you more than my heart can hold.
And I have learned why I exist.”
Tears ungracefully hit the tiled floor with a splat
in the quiet emptiness of the lifeless room.
Like a soldier on reconnaissance, you search this battlefield for clues,
remembering life in it’s prior form.
Echoes of voices, active and full of life, delightfully haunt you
as you stare into the room.
Is this truly memento mori or could it be memento vitae, memento vivere!
Resolve gathers in you,
and the faces you see in the miasma of before
now bolster you, not to say goodbye but to say
“I am a part of you. Don’t forget.
I will always remember you.”
You take your place on the stage in this theater that is your home.
Into the room, you stride with purposeful steps
as you realize, not for the first time, but now with the maturity of knowing
That you are not merely a player strutting and fretting,
That what you do matters, what you do is important,
That this signifies
Nothing is more important than this very moment you walk into the room.