She came to him after class to thank him for being her favorite teacher that year. He asked what she was doing this last summer before college, and she told him.
They said goodbye, and as she left, as an afterthought, she said to him, did you see the signs? Someone saw zombies and is warning people. I saw the picture on Snapchat.
He continued his avuncular smile of goodbye until she said, I didn't think any were around here. Something spread within him, a buzzing epiphany, his eyebrows contracted, his smile went a bit crooked, and he hesitantly said, well, wait, you know it's a joke, right? And her saying, yeah, I guess there wouldn't be any around here. And that something -- Defeat -- blew not just through him but around and over and under him, enveloping him, him flushing as he paused and said with stern yet affectionate concern, you know zombies aren't real, right? but him already knowing the answer.
Now she was the one with the eminently friendly but patronizing look. He said, just tell me that if I taught you anything this year it's that you know zombies aren't real. She started to say something, saw some friends in the hall, and in the manner of a puppy bounced to him (her ponytail wagging), gave him a hug goodbye, and ran after them.
He slumped onto the edge of his desk, arms crossed, defeat having become dejection, but quickly felt better. This is amazing. She is amazing. I am happy this girl exists. Don't take it away from her. Don't. Let her be a child for all her life who believes in zombies and santa and dinosaurs roaming in places across the ocean. There are those who will call her an imbecile, but I won't. This is how God intended us to be. She has not fallen. Satan and I and others have placed knowledge within her reach for 18 years, and she's never taken part, has resisted without even the awareness that she's resisted. She truly lives in God's paradise. She is the state we long to return to. She is a living pastoral.