“Let me have a Dr. Pepper, please,” I say to the waitress in the tight orange and white T-shirt.
Ivan, however, doesn’t want to drink alone, “Aw, come on, Writer, it’s the weekend. Let loose already. Have a beer. It won’t kill you.”
“Seriously, Ivan. I just want a –”
“Sweetie, just get her a frosty mug and get us a pitcher,” he tells the girl, who shivers at the nickname he used. “My friend and I are celebrating.”
The girl, Kelly according to her nametag, smiles. “Oh, congratulations. What’s the occasion?”
“Nothing, really –”
“—I’ve finally been placed in the right project group!” he says.
The waitress swiftly backs away then, order in hand. “I’ll put this in for you. Um, congratulations.” She glances toward me and rolls her eyes.
“Yeah, thanks,” I say, relieved that I’m finally somewhere I belong. She obviously gets my frustration.
Teacher seems to want to give me a taste of hell. “Everyone needs a chance to succeed, my dear,” he said when I cornered him in his office after the assignments had been doled out.
“I can’t work with Irreverent, Teacher.” I started my complaint. (I’m not an idiot. I had worked on a perfect suggestion.) “I mean, you must admit that Ivan and I are too similar. We are both very headstrong. Our sessions will be argument after argument. Don’t you think it would be better –”
“No, I don’t. I think this would be perfect. I think you need to accept my decision. It will be for the best.”
“But, Teacher. It’s going to be so hard.”
“What would make it difficult, my dear? This is not a punishment and this is not a lesson for him. This is for you, as well,” he said, straightening his purple baseball cap over his newly-dyed blue hair. He set his briefcase down on his desk and walked around his desk toward the door leading into the attached garden.
I dropped everything and followed him. “What you don’t understand, Writer, is that the way you’ve been going about some of my lessons has been all wrong. You need a change.”
“Well, can’t you just tell me? I’ll learn if you tell me what I should be doing.”
“No. You need to learn. Sometimes, the strongest lessons come from following the path of least resistance.”
And with that, the door to this argument was shut. Tight.
“—Cuz, you know, I’ve always wanted to work with you, Writer.” Ivan’s confession brings me back. I nod because I don’t want to seem heartless, but I really dread this. Ivan has struck me as someone who would be a difficult teammate. He’s always second-guessing everyone else’s comments in class.
When the waitress sets the mugs down and pours one, he snatches it up and pours the beer down his throat. When he’s done, he slams the mug down as if this had been a competition. With a shy shrug, he pours himself another mug.
“So, anyway. What I was saying. I’ve wanted to team up with you for a very long time. Ever since that day you helped me meditate.”
He smiles a weird, embarrassed smile. Then he breaks into a confession that is one long word, probably to keep me from interrupting. “I mean, no romance or anything, okay, but I love you. You showed me a world I had never believed I could find. I’m like loving everything and everyone. It’s like nothing is going wrong in my life anymore. It’s like everything is right. Everything feels right.”
He pauses and I’m speechless. What do I say? He doesn’t give me a chance.
“I mean, like Teacher says, you know, it’s like I’ve stopped fighting things and everything is falling into place.”
“What do you mean, like Teacher says?” Suddenly, I’m caught unprepared. I have no idea what Ivan is talking about.
“Well, not in class. I’ve been working with him on the side. He asked me why I kept fighting his lessons. So I stopped. After your meditation lesson, I stopped fighting.”
He raises his mug to me, “To you, Dear Writer, for teaching me that the best thing to do in life is to let go and let life.” He clinks his mug with mine. “Cheers to the Path of Least Resistance. It’s changed my life!”
And when the rest of the bar joins in with the toast, I have to accept that he’s right.
Until next time, my friends, I remain, ever-faithfully,
The Dragonfly’s Student
What Irreverent Ivan is talking about: Irreverent Learns, Parts 1 and 2, at: http://wp.me/p3akG9-7v