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Meditation Madness

Diane Payne


George had been living in an ashram for five years and decided it was time to leave. Dreading the possibility of ending up homeless, he planned his journey with his address book according to the cities where possible friends may still live. In the ashram, George was expected to eliminate connections with the outside world, but he was unable to toss the address book. Deep down, he knew he wasn't monk material and his spiritual journey would only last until he became restless for a more carnal journey. The address book made this long awaited transition seem more possible.
June was a woman he had met once, and she seemed friendly, almost hippie-like friendly, so he figured she'd be open to a visit. After June finally recognized George, she gave him a warm hug, a hug George was able to interpret many ways, all of them pleasantly promising.
The house was beginning to get dark when June finished taking her bath. She noticed George was sitting on a kitchen chair meditating. Respectful of his privacy, she went outside and watched the stars slowly appear. It was a hot night and June regretted that she didn't grab a beer on her way out. Surely the sound of a refrigerator door wouldn't disturb a man with so many years of meditation practice, but still she waited, not wanting to appear rude.
After awhile, the sky filled with stars, and June started focusing on how a cold beer would make the wait more pleasant. She peeked in the kitchen window and noticed he was still on the chair looking frozen in some obscure thought. It was then she remembered that he told her they meditated for five hours on Sundays. Relieved it was a Friday, she couldn't help but wonder how long he meditated on a week night.
Another hour passed and June, certain he'd be deep in his trance by now, quietly approached the kitchen eager to grab the cold beer. She was curious about the enlightenment her guest was hoping to attain, and thrilled she'd finally have a beer to drink while pondering his enlightenment. Instead of finding George sitting in his chair, he was lying face down on the kitchen floor. Sleep would have been June's natural response to meditation also.
Looking at George, she remembered the friend who had recently killed himself. June started stomping on his back, furious that he had come to her house to die. "You bastard!" she screamed. "What did I ever do to you?"
"What did I do?" George barely got out between the kicks. June reminded him of Bob, a short-tempered monk who spent the day giving outrageous orders.

"I thought you were dead," June yelled.
"I'm sorry. I fell asleep. It was a long day of driving."
As they stood in the dark kitchen, George suddenly thought of the ashram as a peaceful place, while June silently suffered from an intense feeling of clustrophobia, wondering when her guest would finally leave.



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Published in association with the University of Pennsylvania Writers House
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