There’s a jacket tossed over her knees, but her knees still feel the bump-and-grind of the table, the underbelly of its cold surface, gliding across her thighs. The fleece of the jacket isn’t enough to prevent that squeamish feeling.

She knows that there are wars and famine and military violations; heroes stripped of dignity because they’ve been stripping others of their rights, the leather of jackets meant to keep us warm at night hurting the hides of animals who remain put out like overdue carcasses in the cold.

But the noise is powerful. It’s not a silence but a single sentence, interspersed with cologne and the smell of something worse —

It sits hot on both hands of the teacher as he passes it, drapes the burden of this curtain with a final sort of “stage-close”, there will be no encore, there is only the rancour of the student towards herself when she finally understands.

We often look at the world through lenses of green or red — the rosy lense corrects the pain in our vision; we become overcome with gratitude for our plight as compared to the pitiful ones of children starving. Yet we sometimes don the green glasses and the cataracts come back; our sight is diseased with white spots and black spots and yellow spots and red spots, dancing all over the place like flowers in a pasture we find greener than ours.

But sometimes, we take both contact lenses and glasses off so air stings the naked bridge of our noses. The student blinks and tries to comprehend but all she can see is

failure, failure, failure.

There is disappointment in the self, in the heart, the mind, the marrow — then there is disappointment from the teacher, but then the disappointment arises again from herself.

Upon closer inspection, we all have problems.