Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Magic of the Mirror

I brought my mirror with me to class. Unsure of what to expect, I carried it in its box. When Dr. Sidrax looked at it, he began to chuckle. “What?” I asked him.

He turned his startlingly young eyes towards me. “I am just little anxious to see you with this mirror.” He tilted his head back and let out a small roar of laughter. Confused, I smiled cordially.

After a long lecture about … something I can’t quite recall, he asked to see our mirrors again. “The mirror remind you. Make you think about yourself. These mirror very special.” He hobbled over to a young man named, Kevin who was seated three rows behind me. Those of us in the front of the room turned towards them. I only realized later that I was holding my breath in anticipation.

Dr. Sidrax stared at the mirror lying on Kevin’s desk. Then he stared at Kevin. Then back to the mirror. Then back to Kevin. This continued long enough to make everyone feel a bit uncomfortable. When he finally stopped and addressed the Kevin, his eyes had taken on a somewhat mad appearance, not in the least like the young eyes I’d just looked into hours before. “You close you eyes. I say word. You think about word. When I say open eyes, you open.” The Kevin nodded and closed his eyes. Dr. Sidrax leaned close to him and whispered “spelling” so faintly that I am still unsure how anyone but Kevin could have heard him. Instantly, the glass of Kevin’s mirror burst into a bright circle of light, making the rest of us gasp and squint in response. A violent wind whipped poured from the mirror. “Open!” Dr. Sidrax yelled to Kevin. Kevin, who must have nerves of steel not to have opened them prior to being told, eagerly opened his eyes.

In the face of the mirror was a little boy standing in front of a class. While only the wind could be heard at first, eventually, the boy could be heard. He was spelling. The word he needed to spell was “aggravate.” He took his time, shuffle his feet, twiddling his fingers. “A…g…g….” He appeared to be in so much pain. He hesitated, unsure of what to say next. After a short pause, an adult’s voice, a woman, could be heard. “Kevin, are you stuck again?” The little boy nodded. It became apparent that the little boy had grown up into the same Kevin that sat three rows behind me. I looked at the adult Kevin. His eyes were watering, reddened. His breathing was no longer rhythmic, but choppy, moving his shoulders as he appeared to hold back a sob. “Kevin?” the woman’s voice boomed again. Then, the light began to dim, the sounds of the classroom in the scene we watched were drowned out by the sound of wind again. Soon, the wind was only the resonance of a whistle.

The mirror was still.

My heart was racing.

I looked at Kevin. He was wiping tears from his eyes, sniffling quietly.

Dr. Sidrax looked at us with the kind, youth-filled eyes I adored. “Teacher make memory for children. Memory is powerful. Experience powerful also. This is most important thing in class. This how you will learn. This how you must teach.”

I put my mirror in the trunk during the ride home.

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