Ludlow

Ludlow 6:18

“You’re always asking about my past,” Wheel says, “but you’ve never told me about yours. How did you end up at the Temple?”

Magpie flicks the ball in the air and heads it toward the master. “Complete accident. Graduated high school, went to college. Dad wanted me to be a lawyer and join his firm.”

“Ugh.”

“I know. I didn’t have any better ideas, though. Sophomore year I signed up for this elective in Eastern religions because my girlfriend was taking it. The Buddhism section sorta clicked, you know? That ever happen to you?”

“Oh, sure. That’s the best part of college next to the parties.” Wheel tries a rabona and nearly falls. Magpie shakes his head.

“So I was drifting through school. No real direction. I decided to take a year break, which pissed my father off, but it made Mom happy. My religion prof told me about this place. I’ve never gotten around to leaving.”

“That’s a pretty interesting story.”

“Ehh, I don’t know. I still feel pointless sometimes. If you don’t have an anchor, I suppose the wind will blow you all over the place, huh?”

The master chips the ball toward Magpie. “Maybe the wind is your anchor.”

* * *

Later, as they walk back toward the dorm, Magpie says, “it must have been hard for you to come here, Sensei. I didn’t have a life yet and I thought it was all temporary, so it was easy for me. But you had a degree, a career, the whole enchilada, right?”

Wheel boots a rock down the path. “There’s a Cockeyed Ghost song about picking up and moving. ‘Ludlow 6:18.’ It has a line: ‘I only left behind the things that seemed already gone.’

“Sometimes you leave town, and sometimes town leaves you.”

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