Creative Non-Fiction Short Stories. :) Travel, Oldsters, Love, and Compassion.
Teaching a summer class has provided a fantastic opportunity to enjoy what is without a doubt, one of the most gorgeous college campuses in existence. Limestone buildings stand proud and heavy with age. Winding paths cut through thick swatches of mature trees. There are endless places to relax with coffee and a book. These treasures can easily become part of the blurry background of the busy months between August and May. But in June, any part of your heart that hasn’t already been sealed in purple can quickly and quietly be seized and stolen away by the overwhelming beauty of K-State’s campus. The travelers of these paths are much fewer and further between this time of year, so the world of Wildcat snaps clearer into focus.
This is the perfect time of year to show off, and it may be no coincidence that campus tours run non-stop during the summer months. After teaching a Public Speaking class, I wandered down one such path and found a lovely wooden bench to stop and check my email. Right as I set up shop, a campus tour meandered from the opposite direction. A young man in a blazing purple polo shirt and khaki shorts led the group of Wildcat hopefuls and map-wielding parents. He walked backwards as he spoke of buildings in passing using a spiel he had likely memorized several tours prior, “students can also get their tickets to any show at McCain for half-price. That’s like, 25 to 30 dollars, which isn’t bad at all! And now we are back at Anderson…”
The campus guide smiled broadly and robotically motioned for the tourists to join him on the steps of the great old structure. Just as the group slowly began to plod towards the invitation, a brilliant flash of energy burst onto the scene. A man on a bike split the crowd and rode through, surprising some and interrupting the prepackaged presentation. He wasn’t just any man on a bike though. He was a messenger of music.
His long black curly hair drifted behind his shoulders, tousled by the breeze of motion. His ten-speed Huffy click-click-clicked past the crowd, and Black Sabbath blared briefly from a boom box he had duct-taped to his handlebars. The message was short and loud, and faded as the man continued on his path. The tour guide was a bit flustered, and appeared to comment to the group about it, maybe something smug about diverse pool of interests in the student body. Something about the man told me he wasn’t a student, he was a missionary. His brief appearance was not accidental. He was spreading pain and thrash and music around to those that needed it. His purpose was clear. His face said, “You’re welcome.”