Routines

Carrie stood up and looked down upon Ms. Elda. In the silence, Carrie stared at Ms. Elda’s shoes – the two shoes were white, like a crisp winter snow. The laces were yellow, like a warm Sunday. The baby blue dress coat blurred in the soft glow of the laces. Distant and warm.

Carrie scolded herself, reminded herself, and then scolded herself again. She thought, I should offer my condolences, but she had not. Tucked within the hurry of George’s attempted escape, she had forgotten that Carrie’s father had passed, George’s grandfather, Siegfried. Within her shoe stare, she lost herself in wonder and memory. Siegfried – he was a character. He used to tell people his name was “zig freed.” “Is Zig freed?” he used to say.

“If I only I was able to ‘zag’ – then, I would be free,” Siegfried joked. Carrie thought that it didn’t make sense, but everyone laughed and guessed at his meaning.

Both mother and son must be grieving, though they did not show grief.

Carrie broke the silence, “I am so sorry about your father…George’s grandfather.”

Ms. Elda, emotionless, said, “thank you.”

The vague, emotionless answer, made Carrie uncomfortable, so she continued, “Maybe that’s why George tried to break through the Circle?”

Ms. Elda smiled, and said, “when does the interview begin?”

Remembering her duties, Carrie opened her notebook, and read the required statements. She knew them – she could say them in her sleep, she could and would recite them, regardless of the physical and emotional stresses she felt. She had recited them many times in the past, not so often in recent years. From habit, and the wish to do her task well, she read the words on the paper, rather than remembering the etched pathways they had left in her brain.

Carrie began:

“The interview will bring George to an awareness of his actions. Awareness of action, brings relief.Relief creates relaxation. As George relaxes, he will let go. As George lets go, he will grow.Small steps toward the goal. George’s goal will be the same as all within the Circle.Within the Circle we are accepted and free.”

Carrie’s eyes, which had been looking nowhere in particular, now focused on Ms. Elda. Re-determined to recite the words with strength and awareness, she continued,

“Ms. Elda, this next section is for those returning to the induction:

George has a great opportunity to see himself, and eventually know himself and his place in the Circle.

Since he has continued to put his interests ahead of the others, the interview will represent an evaluation of George.”

“Please acknowledge that you have heard and understood the goals of the interview.”

Ms. Elda looked toward the camera and acknowledged her understanding.

Carrie relaxed. She was worried that Ms. Elda would delay the interview. Carrie had heard stories of Ms. Elda and her father Siegfried. Her marriage to the Care-Taker surprised everyone. The union of Ms. Elda and the Care-Taker caused a stirring of thoughts within the Circle. Outwardly, the union was celebrated, inwardly it confused the Circle. Some said, it was Siegfried’s daughter who “zagged,” while the rest of the Circle only knew how to “zig.”

Carrie continued, “The plan will respect and develop George’s uniqueness, while developing an awareness.

A little awareness grows to greater awareness.”

The interview will assist George to be aware of himself and his place with the Circle. “With greater awareness we see ourselves and recognize the beauty of ourselves and the Circle. Circles include everyone. We are everyone, and everyone is us. We are the circle.”