Deeply inhaling the briny air, Sylvia extended her tanned sinewy arms towards the ominous skies above. Thunderous waves crashed below, a thick mist of sea spray drifted upward, momentarily obscuring everything in sight. As the air cleared, a small circle of standing figures appeared. They held up long white chiffon scarves, which billowed violently in the powerful gusts of wind. Sylvia stood in the center of the circle. She chanted loudly against the forces of nature, “Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu.” The others followed her lead. Their voices carried over the cliffs, onto the sea, fading far, far away into the distance.
Turning to the group, she bowed gently, her fluffy blonde hair swirling into a cotton candy halo around her head. Her followers bowed in return. The circle of ten individuals all wore loose fitting white gauze ensembles, as well as a thin band of blue twine tied around their foreheads. After a moment of silence, she looked up, and slowly turned to meet each of them, eye to eye. First there was Gregory, a young man from Minnesota, who had left his life as a ranch hand to become a yogi. Next, Maxwell, a recovering sex addict from Toronto, who just wanted a fresh start. Then came Nadine, sufferer of anger issues, looking for management with a spiritual angle. And, so it went. Lastly, she locked eyes with a shrewd looking redhead. She recognized that aqua-green gaze immediately. It was Betty. Betty, her old friend, was a reformed alcoholic. Betty was here to do a “life cleanse”, and was ready to reach the next level in her yogic training. She was, in fact, looking for her master. Sylvia offered up a weak smile, and swiftly moved on to the next person, Harvey, an ex-marine, looking for peace in his life. She breathed heavily, and the group automatically followed her lead with a collective sigh. The morning introductory cliff side session was over.
As the group dispersed, they wandered off in a daze to go to the hostel for lunch. Betty, however, waited for Sylvia. Only the two of them remained on the cliff’s ledge. Betty stepped gingerly towards Sylvia. Sylvia laughed at the absurdity of the situation, breaking the ice, and Betty moved to embrace her. In silence, they hugged in the misty cool air. Then, Betty stood back, keeping her hands on Sylvia’s waist, as she stared into the crystal blue eyes. She apologized for her bad behavior, explaining that she had been through major rehab, and was now a completely different person. Sylvia remained calm, took a deep breath and smiled. Betty motioned with a diamond-encrusted hand, pointing a hot pink acrylic nail out over the vast sea. In a soft, yet clear voice, she said, “From here, it’s easy to see that the infidelity I had with your husband was nothing. In the infinity of life, it was just a blip on the screen.” Sylvia burst into high-pitched laughter, and pulled Betty to hug her once more. As they embraced, she took a step forward towards the cliff’s edge, and with one gently push, Betty was falling down into the foamy surf far, far below.