Xiaoxioa Lu

Ten Days
Ten days.
They were here for ten days.
Just ten days.

I saw their antsy smiles, uncertain eyes.
Behind the tables, chin in cupped hands, I gazed back.
Fidget toy between fingers, half a mind in act, dubious.

Teachers, or rather, older students.
Came thousands of miles here,
From cities we've heard of,
But have never seen for ourselves.
I couldn't help questioning…

Do we not already have an education?
Do we not already have a mind capable of independent thought?
Do they really know more about the world beyond us?
Do they really own more than what their upbringing granted them?

Feeble in opinions and perspectives, I silenced my voice.
But as their uneasiness wore away, our eyes lit up as we saw what they could see.

Thoughts are like chemical reactions, needy of reactants.
Voices, words, comments,
Amalgamated into our creation of knowledge.

We joined them in this expedition,
Experiencing knowledge, playing with concepts
On a barren lands with uncovered treasures of knowledge beneath.

We are digging, digging deep into the soil of learning,
They threw away their familiar excavators, cranes, dump trucks, backhoes….
Came standing next to us, side by side.
Picked up the shovels, scooping bit by bit, deepening and extending further down…

Ten days past, it all ended.
These big sisters and big brothers stared into the visible depth, cringed back
With disenchanted expressions, and looked hesitantly over at us.
But we bloomed into smiles, waved our grime-covered hands, and kept going.
We were happy, though the pit is not yet deep.
Our gratification didn't stem from undemanding contentment
But from joy of progression.
They left their shovels with us, and we kept digging.

After tomorrow, they shall depart.
We echoed each other calling after them, "will you be back?"

After tomorrow, our paths might never cross theirs.
But we promised them, "We will keep digging."

After tomorrow, they might not again see
Dawn break from the same horizon.
Warmth and hope shall reside in the memories we all weaved together.

Just remember,
On this side of the mountain,
Once was an encounter,
Lasted ten whole days.

And I will fly past those mountains to find you all
With own built wings.