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April 13, 2013
Kero frowned and tried to clear his mind.
"No," Mr. Re muttered. "You cannot clear your mind by focusing on clearing your mind. Focus on your breathing."
Kero continued his breathing exercises. His mind drifted to an old memory of himself when he was younger. He had been goofing off in class and was sent to stand in the corner, not allowed to have lunch with the rest of the kids.
Naera had purposefully gotten in trouble so that she could join him. Their little party was broken up quickly, but it had cemented their friendship.
Mr. Re sat in perfect meditation.
After class, Kero told Neru to go on home without him, that Mr. Re needed him for something. Neru didn't question it, but gave Kero an odd look before leaving.
"Sifu Re," Kero began, addressing his teacher in the formal way. "May I speak to you about something?"
"Anything," Mr. Re remarked with a laugh. "I gather it has something to do with the girl again?"
"No, sir," Kero responded, then corrected himself. "Well, not entirely."
"Sir, I've realized that I am below average. I should have been kicked out of your classes years ago, but you kept me on. I do not understand the reasons for this, but do not mistake my confusion for ungratefulness." Kero took a deep breath. "That is not all I had to say," he went on. "Also, the girl. You understand that."
Mr. Re nodded. "More than you know."
"The final thing is that I had a long conversation with my half-brother. He has a lot of pain to get over. I'm an obstacle to that. I'm a burden. My cousin, Neru, is more a part of my family than I am!"
Mr. Re held up a hand. "Have you spoken with Neru about this?"
Kero shook his head. "No. I don't hate him for this. Even their names go well together," he added with a mocking laugh.
"What is her name?"
Mr. Re made no perceptible motion before saying, "What is your decision, then?"
"I have chosen to go on with my life. I haven't even seen her in a month. I think I'll ask her to the Festival."
"I think she would like that."
"But that is not the important part of what I have to say. I am dropping out of your class, Sifu Re. I am holding the other students back by ridding them of your full attention."
Mr. Re only nodded. "So be it."
"Thank you, Sifu Re," Kero said, then he departed with a bow.
At Mr. Re's home, he lay upon the couch as a girl read to him. As soon as she was finished he sat up. "Granddaughter Naera," he began. "We have a lot to talk about."
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