Teach Us

SHOW US SOME THINGS, we ask our new teacher. We sit on the floor in a circle, looking at him as he stands, surrounded by us.

We are young, though not children. He is older, but not old, though a look crosses his face as if he is tired, as if he has seen things he wishes he had not seen.

He doesn’t really want to teach us. His eyes slide to the metal door as if he’s measuring the steps, calculating how quickly he can escape.

I don’t know that I really have anything to show you, he says.

But we heard that you were good. You won tournaments.

To tell the truth, he says, that was mostly a myth. I had a good day now and then. Once or twice I was lucky. But that was a long time ago.

Why have you come here, then?

For the money, he says, though it’s not much. But I suppose I can’t expect better at this point.

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