I needed that time to sit and recollect. I needed to feel the company of my fellow dharma friends. I needed the quiet stillness to be with myself. A nice, firm pillow behind my back, feet firmly planted on the floor, off I was practicing mindfulness.
'til, someone came and interrupted. I fancied the person to be a man. Huffing and puffing, he made his way past the whole front row where I was sitting, around the back, and planted himself on the chair right behind me. He would settle down. All that breathing, and the screeching sound of his down jacket rubbing against itself with his every move, all that would stop soon. It usually does. I started to notice my growing irritation. Thoughts of getting up and leaving, just like that. He let me see what was really stored inside this heart of mine. Not very kind, was I? I remembered similar times before, and how I had felt almost foolish afterwards, for having gotten so worked up for some candy wrappers un-twirled a bit too slowly, or other rudeness from a near fellow meditator. He was breathing hard, after all. Maybe he was ill, I wondered? Enough thinking, back to the breath, my own. No, not possible. This was an opportunity to reflect, and not so much meditate. So many attachments I have, as tonight with my insistence that the place be quiet . . . I did not get what I wanted, but I certainly got what I needed.
The bell rang, and my neighbors and I all turned back to see. In the back of us, an old man was sitting with a hearing device. His eyes and mine met, and we exchanged a smile.