the teacher

It wasn't often that someone offered him a word. It had been years since anyone had spoken to him even a few sentences let alone half-hour's worth of them. His lips moved only to talk to the innate silence that was in him. He spoke to the earth, he spoke to the wind. He even spoke to the trees when they caught his fancy. He never wondered why he heard no replies. He never worried that no humans ever wished to talk to him. He liked to be his own companion in conversation. Naturally he had been caught off-guard when the man in the car addressed him out of the blue. He had looked around to be sure that it was indeed him that the man in the car had called out to. He had said, "Sir?", with the little question mark added at the end with an inflection. Sir, indeed!

The man had invited him to have coffee with him at the store across the road. He was dressed in a pair of old blue comfortable jeans and a black tee. Unlike him, the man looked perfectly in place within the coffee shop. In the last thirty minutes, the man had spoken to him and listened to the story of his life with an honest interest. The man had recognised him inspite of the shrivelled skin and the badly nicked bald head. He offered his teacher a place to live, or die when the time came, in peace. He claimed that his teacher had been the first step in his ladder. The first, sure, strong step that now defined his career, his success and his life. It was now time to ensure that this demi-god was at peace and he had come to claim his right to do that.

The teacher stared at the student he couldn't remember. His memories had long before been strangled out of existence. He wondered at the godliness of this man he had once taught. He felt proud of that. He stood up and thanked the man for his respect and his care. He took his cane and made his way out. This conversation would now enable him to sanely live with the silence for a long time to come. That was all he needed in life. That was all he wanted to be thankful for.

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