I was five minutes late… not enough to slip by unnoticed, too early to miss the mandatory speech.
Words of pointless value littered the room, saturating mindless realms, confidently choking the grapes of youth.
I slipped in anyway, facing the unavoidable – my face noticed with subtle displeasure, my name quietly taken and added to the book of wrath.
The mouth went on, about the need for obedience, the value of rules, the consequence of failure.
My mind drifted. In the distance another sun prepared to rise, touching the night, drawing musical notes on purple velvet which was the limitless sky.
A wind chime awoke, a whisper of peace and stillness.
“Oliver.” The name, drenched in disapproval, ripped through the silence. Like a whip it hit my chest, circled my neck, dug deep into my skin. “You don’t seem to care at all.”
I knew that in the yard, Rose of Sharon shared its gentle, effortless presence with birds that sang a song to the freedom of flight. Out there, a gentle breeze flowed across the grass, crept up the walls, sneaked into hallways.
The mouth spoke about homework, test procedures, graduation requirements.
The moon maintained its path as the rising sun turned purple into pink. Fading stars proclaimed their presence behind the coming daylight – their eternal promise of hope, maybe of peace.
I cared enough – for the woods of Yang Ming Mountain, giant ferns, bamboo forests, rivers that swelled to abundance in a moment, when the rains arrived.
I cared for a guitar playing, for a child crying, for an old woman collecting cans at dawn, for the monkeys on Monkey Mountain, for scooters in the dead of night.
I cared too much for comfort.
I got up and left – five minutes too early to leave unnoticed.