travelling back in time: a haibun

It’s early morning, my half awake middle aged mind returns to grade nine, an opaque blur: no faces, no objects, just a sense of door, teacher, the front of the classroom being next to the door, windows at the back…I hand the teacher my scribbled line “if they don’t care why should I?”…all is in shadows except her response: “of course you care.”

The debate led by “M” was in the same classroom…she said “he” had a superiority complex…I thought perhaps the boy discussed felt inferior…my head mulled over this question many times…decades later I ponder it once again…not remembering the “he” we were debating, only that he was troubled, troubling, or both. Perhaps feeling superior or inferior are similar modes…both mistakes about self, both experiences of precipice. And then the final fragment of memory: in the hallway, just outside the classroom door, the tall shadow of the girl who would be the leader in this new school.

lost in an ocean

just learning how to swim



©️2018 Ontheland

16 thoughts on “travelling back in time: a haibun

  1. Janice, this is brilliant, summing up adolescence in just a few words. I liked learning your thoughts that led to its creation, sensing the shadows of th past and the future, certain events recalled with clarity and precision.

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  2. Perhaps feeling superior or inferior are similar modes…both mistakes about self, both experiences of precipice.

    and there is the heart of the matter – they are, actually, of the same cloth – often allowing for a reaction that is similar in the extremes –

    I have to say, the haibun is so clear – you bring us right into the heart of the mind and the matter, the debate, the wonder, the questions and questioning for the confusion, the angst and uncomfortable aspects of being an adolescent and trying to figure out who we are, and where we fit in, or don’t etc. And the last few sentences of the haibun really draw quite an impact. Well done. And the haiku closes it off well.


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    1. Thank you so much Pat…a cluster of memories and feelings that have been with me for a long time…it was surprising but satisfying that they could be poured into a small haibun.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. it really is an exceptional piece – and now, maybe, the memories can resolve themselves and “be set free on a wing and prayer” of understanding … 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Janice, your post is very intriguing and brings new thoughts. Superiority and inferiority – part of the same.
    Never thought of it but will now. As all agree, they are both – on each side of the scale – unbalanced.
    Thanks for telling the background to your great haibun.


    Liked by 1 person

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