Such darkness around me as I climbed those endless stairs, case after case and story after story as I journeyed to that place I did not know. It’s like I never even reached my destination as it materialized around me, no doorway as the room just manifested around me. One moment I was climbing to nowhere and the next I was pacing a room in a deep conversation with a teacher. I remember, there was so much I wanted to learn, so much I wanted to talk about, so much I wanted to ask, but all I could do was follow teacher room to room and just listen to the stories, listen to only the lessons I was meant to receive.
These were lessons without a chalk board, no desk, just listening as the teacher talked, following from room to room wanting to hear more, loving every word — it just felt so good to be there at that very moment. I remember wanting to reach out and place my hand on him, wanting so much to know that this experience was real because somewhere deep inside, I knew it was all a dream. Just enough lucidity to know I better enjoy the moment because it would eventually slip right though my fingers and memory like a fine sand, with only a feeling lingering behind — that little thing you hold on to after those special dreams you remember for the rest of your life. These were the kinds of dreams that matter, a story to reference as long as I could recall it, listening and following so eagerly from room to room to room.
It was as if that slightest light of lucidity was just enough to cause the dream to crumble because as I listened and followed, wanting this moment to last forever, wanting the feeling to just keep going, the room began to sway ever so slightly like a slow moving earthquake below, the earth beginning to wave beneath me and the tower where I stood. I looked out of the window into the evening sky and city lights down below noticing just how tall the tower stood as I felt it sway so noticeably.
I could feel the grip of my feet begin to slip as the top of the tower swayed steeper and steeper, like those waves from my other dreams that just continue to grow, overpowering entire buildings and cities and eventually taking my right with them under the water. But each time that hint of lucidity would remind me that even in a dream, even under water, I could take a deep breath slowly and everything would be okay. Then I could just continue to explore.
So as I stood in the moving tower, struggling to keep my footing on the steepness of the floors, trying so hard to use my weight to counter the moving room, the moving tower, the moving earth. Such a little thing, but I tried non the less. I stayed as long as I could wanting so much to talk more and learn more from my teacher, because I knew this was a place I would never travel again, a conversation I could never just pick up at a later time and continue, a life I would never live again; I just had to keep trying… But my teacher eventually told me it was time, that the last elevator would arrive shortly and I should go.
He walked me to the hallway to wait for the elevator arrive, hand in hand yet without a touch, I could feel it all the same. And when the elevator arrived, there was room for only one more… and he pushed me in without a second thought, then turned around and returned to his room. Before I could utter a word, the doors closed and I stood elbow to elbow with a lucky few.
Even in the elevator we could feel the sway of the tower and hear the creaking of the buildings support beams. As we went down, story by story, the sounds grew louder. After a few stories, the doors would open to groups of men struggling to repair the crumbling elevator, working so hard to make sure we made it to the bottom. The doors would shut and the elevator would move down a few more stories as they continued to try so hard to keep the shaft from breaking or the steel cable from snapping. And after what seemed like a life time in a people box, descending into the depths of a crumbing tower, the doors finally opened on the ground floor and I walked slowly out.
I crossed the street and turned to look at the tower just as the top began to fall, my heart sinking. Red lights began to flicker around me as they brought people from the rubble. I watched, looking for my teacher as they pulled the bodies out. And in a line of hospital beds, he came in the last one with a sheet over his head.
The last words of a great teacher:
“I Love you, and I love your children” while at the same time he said with his mind “Love yourself, you are my children”