I am not sure why I walked out of that spring day’s beautiful mid-morning sunshine. It would have been so much easier to just keep walking down the 9:45 a.m. tree lined sidewalk. In fact the dirty beige concrete going beyond the doorway was becoming increasingly seductive.
Not yielding to the seduction, I in fact did take the path less traveled through the creaky wooden doorframe of the bookstore. This was not just any bookstore mind you. It was a bookstore about and for writing. The lady at the counter provided clear directions with her pointed index finger to our workshop classroom.
At the moment I entered the windowless room I noticed a dozen chairs adjoining the red desk and chair of the instructor. Immediately my stomach began to host one…no, two…no, three…no, hundreds of butterflies. While I am generally not prone to hosting butterflies in my stomach, my abdomen was quickly becoming the Mother Teresa-like host of these panic-stricken insects.
As I stood there with only one other person in the room, my newfound attention-getters attempted to take my mind off the task at hand. My immediate, seemingly simple job was to find a place to sit within this soon to be den of writers.
We were here to learn about Flash Fiction. And yet before the first word was spoken, I was already experiencing Flash…of another sort. My immediate flash was a flashback to 5th grade – to high school English class – to my college freshman English class with Dr. Bull.
These Flashes were developing so much momentum that they were beginning to feel more like an explosion of painful memories than a simple flash. That younger encumbered student, unaware of something called dyslexia was now once again feeling the familiar angst of failure. The never-ending red lines of failure dripping from Dr. Bull’s corrective pen shouted echoes of my own father’s relentless judgment towards me.
Driven by the internal swirl of psychotic butterflies that were morphing into hornets, I was urgently being drawn to actually make a seat selection. The other students were entering the writing den. With the increasing number of bodies in the room, the insects were intensifying their call for me to head to the other end of the table furthest from the teacher. They were yelling louder and louder – flee from the red desk and yellow muffin sitting next to her water glass…run…run…run.
However, this time I said no to the pesky ancient demons and sat as close to the red desk and yellow muffin as possible. Perhaps I had finally made it home.