Communal Meltdown

Written with my Thursday evening group with the prompts:  communal melt down, the mist, her head rode the beat like a boat in the waves, the wind-up bird, alpacas, evolution, discovered and rediscovered, what happens, bonding, rolling, patterning, coloring, combinations, suppliers

Sometimes, Marissa knew, you just had to step back for a minute and let what happens happen, allow your heart to ride the energy like a boat in the waves, and hope you don’t succumb to the vertigo of sea sickness.  Now was one of those times, as her little class of misfits dissolved in a communal meltdown.  She felt like she was watching a dozen or more wind-up toys groan and chatter and spring and squeak in a chaotic mass of screams and tears, swear words and thrown books.  All blamed Frankie, the new boy, with his helmet and his leg brace.  He was unable to blend in at recess and his awkwardness had unmasked them all:  they were revealed as the kids on the short bus, the ones with special needs, the challenged and challenging kids.  No, they didn’t want him at their lunch table or in their game of catch or hanging out with them under the valley oak.  Even James, who was often the odd kid out, was happy to have someone lower than him on the totem pole, even he was ragging on poor Francis.

Marissa had sent Frankie to help the librarian so now she could sit back, nodding and listening, letting them blow off steam.  And yet she could see the mist rising in the back of the classroom.  There was a thin place there, where she knew an adjoining dimension often leaked through, a place of winding mountain trails, meadows with grazing alpacas, the heavy scent of fennel.  Marissa had discovered and rediscovered constellations of stars above and wild flowers below, a patterning that shifted and swayed to foretell her future and guide her present like yarrow sticks thrown to discern a reading from the I Ching.  She could hear now the stit stit stit of a hummer, so deceptively small, yet these birds were fierce, squealing and chirping like a wind-up tin machine.  

She blinked and the kids were quiet now, coloring green shamrocks and Easter bunnies.  Had she slipped through the tunnel or had she managed to calm them all with a box of Crayolas and a CD of Mary Youngblood’s flute music?  The years were rolling by, combinations of joy and frustration, and she wondered if she could invent new words to describe this bonding of opposites, this blurring of boundaries, the keen sharpness of being unable to absorb their pain.  They were evolving beyond her, but she would remain as she was, caressing past failures like memories of old lovers.  Was she here, now, or was she tripping down the narrow hallway to meet her supplier at the bus stop?   

Photo by Jason Rosewell on Unsplash

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