Thursday, May 26, 2011

King of the Bridge

If there's one thing I've learned over the past five or so decades, it's this: if you find a teacher who's truly great and who is willing to work with you, just do what she says, even if you don't have a clue as to why she's said it. Strike that: specially if you don't have a clue as to why she's said it.

Tonight at our writing jam I was presented a clear directive that (based upon five or so decades of learning) I cannot ignore. After an exercise in which Jenny instructed us to recall a photograph and then write something beginning with the phrase: In this one, you are..., I wrote the following. The directive was that it appear here.

Happy Friday!
Teflon


In this one, you are climbing a staircase made of rough hewn wood. It leads from a foot bridge crossing the river to a trail that runs along the ridge line. You raced one another across the bridge and just as you got to the steps, Eila slowed just enough to let Luke win.

Luke shouted, "I win! I'm the king of the bridge."

Eila just smiled and said, "You did win. How'd you do that? You're getting really fast."

See how the two of you are smiling, your mouths open as you both try to regain your breath. See how Eila is standing just behind Luke as the two of you climb the steps, her hands gripping the rails on either side, close enough to catch him if he falls, but not so close that he notices.

Eila, even at seven, you had more confidence than most adults I know. Once you knew you could win, you no longer needed to win. You were always happy to take second place, or third, or to drop out completely to help someone who'd fallen or just given up. You didn't shy away from the spotlight, but you also never minded taking the supporting role, whether it was singing harmony with Joy or dropping back to make sure that Luke didn't fall too far behind the rest of the kids.

Even as you let Luke win the footrace, you're beaming as if you'd won, and you did.

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