The X’s and Y’s of It

Professor X noticed Student X weaving down the hallway towards him.  Drunk, perhaps?  Not Student X, thought Professor X.  There must be some other explanation.  And so he intercepted him as he veered toward a corkboard scrambled with out-of-date announcements.  Are you OK, Professor X asked, looking into Student X’s saucered eyes.  Oh yes, said Student X.  I just left Professor Y’s class.  I’m just a little stunned is all, I guess.  We were reading a poem about hummingbirds and droplets of blood or something.  Should we get help, Professor X asked.  No, no, said student X, Professor Y says this is normal.  Lunch then, asked Professor X.  You want to go get some lunch. You look pale.  I’m fine, really, said Student X.  It’s just the world has been transfigured.  Transfigured, asked Professor X.  Yes, Professor Y says that was to be expected, said Student X.  I see, said Professor X.  Carry on.  Be careful, though, where you’re walking.  Yes, yes, of course, said Student X.  And so Professor X watched him walking now with one hand against the wall for balance, as if the building had gone all tilt-a-whirl.  With this, Professor X continued to his office, where he closed the door to grade some papers.  Then a knock at the door.  It was Student Y.  She too was troubled.  Something has happened, she said.  What’s that, asked Professor X.  Look outside, she said.  He hadn’t bothered to look out his window since he’d been in his office but now he did, and, yes, there was something strange about the light—a kind of glowing.   Oh, he said, something indeed.  What do we do, she asked.  He opened the window and misty light seeped into the room, Student Y backing nervously out the door.  It’s OK, I think, said Professor X, but he wasn’t sure.  Professor Y told us to expect this said student Y, but now I’m not so sure I like it.   Soon the whole room was flooded in the glow, and Professor X felt compelled to step out into the hall, as well.  The light, though, seemed to be seeping in everywhere, and students were milling about in bewilderment, one young man squatting in a corner weeping.  Will this stop, Student Y asked Professor X.  I don’t know, he said, but its best to accept it somehow.  Try saying something comforting to yourself to help your mind accommodate this new world.  It is what it is, I don’t know what it is, he said. Something like that.  But the world will never be the same, Student Y said.  I know said Professor X. I know.  And then Professor Y was walking down the hall toward them all smiles.  Amazing, isn’t it, he said.  Yes, they both said together.   A miracle, Professor Y said, and all from a poem I had my students read in class.  And then there was a whooshing sound and the glow was sucked out of the building within seconds.  They all watched the windows as the light seemed to be pulled back up to from whence it came, one young woman hurriedly popping a screen so she could lean out and get a better look.  Student Y looked relieved.  I’ve got a lab in ten minutes, she said.  I should probably get going.  Yes, good idea, said Professor X, Professor Y, clearly miffed, nodding in agreement.   Professor X raised his eyebrows at Professor Y, who seemed to be deep in thought.  There were no words between them as they both retreated again to their offices.