“Leslie, meditation is done now.” Sasha’s voice is unusually gentle. Leslie snaps to the present and is astonished to find that her face is wet with tears. Two of the other students, longtime classmates of Leslie’s, make a point of not looking at her. The third, a relative newcomer is staring at her with an open mouth. Leslie flushes in embarrassment as she tries to stem her tears; they continue to fall.
“Excuse me.” Leslie walks over to the table in the corner of the room and picks up a tissue. She uses it to dab her eyes, but she continues to cry silently. She grabs a handful of tissues and walks outside. Sasha lets her be because she knows that Leslie needs a minute to collect herself. If she doesn’t return in a few minutes, Sasha will go outside to make sure she’s OK.
“I miss you, John,” Leslie whispers as she huddles by the door. It’s not exceedingly cold out—twenty degrees—but Leslie feels a coldness that cuts straight through her heart. Leslie aches to hold John one last time, to feel him inside her one last time, to kiss him one last time. She couldn’t tolerate the idea that she would never see him again. She had known him a relatively short amount of time, and yet, he had become indispensable in her life. She counted on him to be there for her, and now—he isn’t. He will never be there for her again. Leslie hugs herself in a futile attempt to stave off the despair. How can she bear it that she will never ever get to hear him call her lover again?
After several minutes, Leslie returns to class. Sasha is leading the class in chi gong, but she glances quizzically at Leslie as Leslie gently shuts the door behind her. Leslie nods once, not trusting herself to speak. She sits on her chair, drinks her bottled water, and skips the chi gong. When it’s over, she rejoins the class for the first section of the solo form. She is able to stumble through it with minimal mistakes. She endures the rest of the class, counting the minutes until it’s over.