From the Schoolhouse
When I saw it, I smiled.
No one had to say a thing. The color spoke for itself. It was a muted emerald. It lay curled in my little school office mailbox. I approached breathlessly like a hunter tracking deer in an open glade. “Can’t spook it,” I said to myself. “It might bolt into the mist and be gone for another year.”
It had been twelve months since I had last seen it. It lay quietly in the box staring at me, wondering. I didn’t reach for it at first. I just stood silently before it like my Japanese friends used to do at their Shinto shrines in the Emperor’s Garden. Then, with a trembling hand, I carefully pulled it out of the box and cradled the document in my open hand. At first, it quivered like the Bembine Tablet of ancient Rome, filled with fake Egyptian hieroglyphics. This page too had its own strange lines all spread out over the emerald face. I read the name on the top of the page. It said, David Denny. I knew it was mine and not misplaced in the wrong box.
This illusive friend had been waiting patiently for me all year. Now I was here, holding it tightly, feeling its heartbeat, afraid it might escape, waiting for it to whisper farewell in its mysterious language.
Twenty-five lines awaited a signature. Twenty-five lines separated me from the door. I took the emerald checkout page with me back to my room walking in giddy steps, anxious to begin the final journey of finding signatures. And since every journey of a 1000-miles begins with a first signature, I was anxious to begin.