By on Jul 10, 2017 in Humor

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Meditation class, with overlaid sunset

“Well,” Lucy said, “that’s not how I would have chosen to end the session, but I guess it’s not really about what I might or might not have chosen. As is always the case, it’s about what is.”

I looked at the other people in the class, trying to gauge their responses to Lucy’s words, and trying to gauge whether their asses, too, were in pain. I scratched my right eyebrow.

“I’m sorry,” Lucy said. “I didn’t realize that we’d be kicked out at a certain time. Ordinarily, I would have invited comments about your experience during the past”—she looked at her watch—“twenty or twenty-five minutes. As it is, even though we have to go, does anyone wish to say anything, briefly, about… well, about anything to do with tonight’s session? Meanwhile, I’m going to pass around a paper on which I’ll ask you to put your names, addresses, phone numbers, and e-mails, and just put a checkmark to indicate whether you’d be interested in further information or further sessions of this sort. Thank you. Would anyone like to say something?”

“That was wonderful,” a woman sitting next to Harold said. I didn’t know her. She was maybe fortyish, not bad looking, with odd, sort of red-rimmed glasses and reddish hair.

“Oh,” said Lucy.

“It’s just wonderful that you came here, and gave this opportunity to us. I felt so aware, of everything really, and yet so calm at the same time. I just thought it was terrific and I can’t wait for another chance to do this.”

“Well,” said Lucy, after she was reasonably sure the woman was done effusing. “That’s great. That’s really nice of you to say, and I’m glad you had such a positive experience.”

At that point, the lights went out with a thud that seemed to come from deep within the building. Old Fafafnik really wanted us out.

“Not subtle, is he?” said Lucy.

People laughed.

There was enough light from outside so that we weren’t banging into things as we gathered our stuff and stood up and made our way to the doors. I was maniacally massaging my left leg but still had trouble putting weight on it.

“Let me just say two final words,” Lucy said.

Everyone quieted down.

“While it’s great that you experienced so much awareness, bear in mind that there will be times that you won’t. Your experience might feel scatter-brained or disjointed or any of a million things. Likewise, calm is not a certain result of meditation. In my experience, agitation is common, even numbness or daydreaming or anger, grief… anything really. The point is to keep meditating, whatever your experience, and to keep doing it day after day. Now, thank you. Let’s get out of here while we can still see.”

I limped towards the door.

“This place brings back memories,” I said as I rejoined Harold. I could make out the lovely Helene a few steps ahead of us. The hallway was lit by one dim emergency light up in the corner.

“It still gives me the willies,” Harold said.

We were coming to the large outer room with the stairs and cloakroom and gift counter. The lights were still on here, and Helene’s swaying hips drew me along. Mr. Fafafnik stood hunched over in a corner, one hand on the light switch, the other holding an old-fashioned ring of keys.

“Shit!” Harold exclaimed, patting his nonexistent pants pocket. “I left my keys in there.” He turned abruptly.

“Don’t forget your wallet, either,” I said.

He started running.

“Hey!” yelled Fafafnik. “No running. Where do you think you’re going?”

“My keys!” yelled Harold.

“What did he say?” said Fafafnik.

“He forgot his keys,” I told him. “How are you, Mr. Fafafnik?”

“How am I? Who wants to know?”

“I remember you from Hebrew school thirty years ago,” I said. “You used to let me and another kid in the side door.”

“Always causing trouble, you kids.”

Helene was already out the door. I didn’t want her to get away.

“It’s good to see you,” I said to Fafafnik.

He nodded.

“Nice of you to say hello,” he said.

I heard Harold running back towards us. Fafafnik flipped the switch just as Harold came out of the hallway into the big room.

“Jesus Christ!” yelled Harold.

“Hey, this is a temple,” Fafafnik yelled back. “Let’s go now.”

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After receiving degrees in psychology from Wesleyan and Duquesne Universities, and since completing Naropa University’s Creative Writing Program in Prague, Czech Republic, in 2005, Laurence Levey has had short stories published in Cezanne’s Carrot, Art Times, Versal, Ellipsis, The Barcelona Review and The Manhattanville Review; book reviews published in Drunken Boat and Word Riot; and poetry accepted for publication in Fulcrum. He was a semi-finalist in the Summer Literary Seminars-2010 Unified Literary Contest, a runner-up in the Summer Literary Seminars 2017 Contest, a finalist in the 2016 Breakwater Review Fiction Contest, and he writes for The Review Review.