They haunt me, the ones who disappear. We meet a few times, and then they vanish. I half expect their pictures to show up on so many milk cartons: HAVE YOU SEEN US? CALL 1-800-ENG-1101.
Two, eight, sixteen years later, they still shuffle around the classroom of my mind. Was it an emergency? The syllabus? The circus? Addiction? Epiphany?
Maybe they remembered something that they’d tried to forget. Maybe they fled after an early round of Fail ‘Em All & Let God Sort ‘Em Out. Maybe it was a terminal case of the I-don’t-wannas, metastasizing through their transcripts like fire ant hills in a spring pasture. Or maybe—bound by need and love, by duty and blood—they turned back, toward home.
I’ll never know. But I think of them often, and pray they’re all right. Over the years and across the miles, I wish them patience, wisdom, and a chance to reappear.
© R. S. Williams (all rights reserved)