The glass globe sat on Mrs. Camberwell’s dark mahogany desk; it’s transparent walls radiating sunlight across the room. A small house nestled into the base of the globe was surrounded by desert succulents and a series of small white stones that resembled a walkway. It was early morning on a Saturday and school wasn’t in session. The room was dark and quiet.
Nonetheless, Mrs. Camberwell arrived at 7:15 am precisely and used the keys given to her by the custodian, Mr. Jaffrey, to enter. She looked both ways, scanning the fence line around the school for any peering eyes, and entered. Her footsteps echoed in the corridor as she passed the blue first floor lockers, past Mr. Reese’s room where he’d awkwardly proposed to her earlier in the school year. She shuddered at the memory as she swiftly passed it. As she hit the stairs, she heard a faint harmony fill the still air. She froze.
Was there a student that had gotten the same idea as her? Was it Principal Goodhorn doing some weekend work? Gods! If she got caught by her, she’d have her hide for sure! Mrs. Camberwell waited and listened.
The harmony continued down the stairs and seemed to fill up the stairwell with its warm tinkling and humming. It sounded like a small folk band was playing upstairs. Breathing a deep breath, she carefully climbed the stairs and listened for the source. As she climbed, the music got louder and she felt drawn more and more to the source of the sound, not merely out of curiosity, but out of a deep longing. Where was it coming from?
Finally, she reached the second floor and listened. The music floated on the air like incense, drawing her attention and at the same time, agitating her. She had to know where it was coming from. If someone else heard it, they might be drawn to it as well. She would be the first to discover it!
It wasn’t until she reached the door when she realized it was her own classroom. Her married name and room number was printed onto a hastily printed sheet and stuck up with scotch tape that barely clung on to the cinder block wall. She glanced at it for a moment, sighed, and turned the handle.
As soon as she did, the music stopped. The classroom was lighting up and aside from her footsteps, she was the only living thing in that school. Or so she thought.
Suddenly, a light appeared in the glass globe and flickered on and off. Startled, she stared at the globe and shouted “Who’s there?!”
She slowly approached the globe and gazed into it. The little house’s windows glowed softly and the stone path looked like it had tiny footprints on each stone. Even the tiny wooden door looked different. Before it had that looked like it had been stuck there haphazardly by a hasty crafter.
The globe was a gift from her friend and mentor, Ms. Compton who had retired the year before. After working as her assistant for a few years and then as her co-teacher, Ms. Compton felt that she had become her true successor and abruptly gave her notice. Before she left, she gave her the globe and attached to it was a card that had a picture of an American lady (an orange butterfly with brown blotches and spots on its delicate wings) on the front. The card sat next to the globe, untouched since it had been opened all those months ago, but now Mrs. Camberwell felt the need to read it again. So she picked it up. The lettering shone with a golden touch in the sunlight and she read the words out loud.
“When times are hard and you’re tired of folks, just imagine a place with mourning cloaks and wagon spokes and it will fill your heart with delights.”
When she finished, she looked down into the globe and gasped. There, standing on the footpath, looking up with warm hazel eyes and a broad grin was Ms. Compton.
“Hello there, Vanessa. We have work to do.”