Two-dozen little shoe soles squeaked and squelched across the linoleum of the hallway. The teacher at our church school, leading the way, walked backwards for a few steps, winding the cord of her whistle around her finger. The whistle clacked against her rings. She pivoted to lead us into the library, and the squeaks turned to shuffling on the carpet in the dark. We could see the shapes of things we moved between – tables and shelves. We could see the projector and the screen, and with a click of sound the screen held a square of light and the square of light held our moving shadows. When we lowered to sit on a cleared space on the floor, there was a tingle at my fingertips that traveled all the way up my arm, across my chest, buzzing in my rib cage. A movie.
Last time, we’d watched a teeny tiny animated submarine chugging through the currents of somebody’s animated blood stream. The time before that, Ben Hur (anything featuring Charlton Heston in man-sandals was a winner here). And before that, a cartoon tooth demonstrating how to brush himself. It didn’t really matter to me what it was. I could be in class braiding the strips torn off the edges of spiral notebook pages or I could be sitting here watching the film threading through the projector and producing dark blips on the screen. I loved the blips and I loved the pop of sound coming on and I loved the rapid clacking of the reels as the film, whatever it was, began in earnest.
Today, it was something quite different, as the teacher with her hand overlapping the other in the projector stream had told us ….
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