Somebody from the Past
Somebody from the Past
It was three o'clock in the morning when Angela's usual nightmare came to an end. Once again she had narrowly escaped death by asphyxiation. Her terrifying dream had followed her, even in Dinah's house. She woke up sweating with her heart pounding and her mouth dry. The room was cold and she was shivering. She felt the need for a hot, reassuring drink. She quickly put on her dressing gown and, barefoot so as not to wake up the others, quietly went down the stairs towards the kitchen.
To her great surprise she saw the dim light of a small lamp illuminating the room. In the shadow she recognised Dinah. With an abandoned look on her face she was slowly and gently lulling herself in a rocking chair. Dinah perceived her movements, turned her face towards her and gently said, "What's wrong, Angela? Why aren't you sleeping?"
Angela didn't answer immediately. Big warm tears were running down her cheeks. Anguished she found the voice to whisper, "Dinah, it's months now that I am tormented by the same old nightmare. Often, ever more often, I have to go through this horrible dream."
She told her the circumstances of her incubus. Dinah was listening attentively.
She inquired about all the details of the dream and finally, as if she had reached a conclusion, she got up from the rocking chair and said, "Come on, let's have a nice cup of tea."
She went to the cupboard, took a pinch of leaves from a tin and put them in an old, battered teapot. While the water was boiling, she exhorted Angela to sit down at the old kitchen table.
A few minutes later the tea was ready.
Dinah was pouring the hot liquid in their cups.
"Dinah, you are letting the leaves fall into the cups," said Angela surprised.
"Yea, that's the intention. Come on, drink the tea. If you do it slowly the leaves will remain at the bottom of the cup. I will interpret their pattern."
"Wow, Dinah. You can read tea leaves! Can you see my past in the cup?"
"Your past or your future, it depends."
"It depends on what?" Angela asked.
"It depends on what is tormenting you most."
Angela was looking at her in amazement. "Where did you learn all this?"
"At the Divination night class," laughed Dinah.
Angela wasn't sure how to interpret Dinah's answer. "You are making a fool of me, aren't you?"
"No, Angela. I am not laughing at you. Most people believe that human beings are tabula rasa when they come into the world, that there are no individual differences among us. All we have to do is go to school and learn. We can learn everything if we want. What a ridiculous notion! It is the denial of the individual talents or skills. Of course, this is not true."
"Dinah, then how is it that you know all these things if you have never learned them?"
"Angela, how is it that you don't. You know I regard and love you as an adopted daughter. This gives me the authority to tell you, 'don't be stupid!'
It is time to demystify the concept of school. Do you really think that schools are temples of knowledge were you go to be illuminated? Trust me, you don't learn much at school especially in today's ones where most of the teachers know no better than their students. Teachers read from text books and regurgitate in the classroom whatever they have read. Do you call that teaching? The students memorise like parrots what they have been told. Do you call that learning? Don't be ridiculous, Angela! Knowledge is not a liquid that you can pour from one container to another, from one brain to another. Believe me, it takes much more than mere repetition from one person to another to acquire a little grain of knowledge. To be able to read tealeaves of course you can start with some instructions on how to recognise configurations left at the bottom of your cup but then again the connection between tealeave patterns and real life events are left to your personal