The Empty Guru

“What is wrong with the world today, and especially in America, is there are too many things! Reject those things! Reject the cars, reject the big house, reject the tons of clothes. You do not need these things to be happy. You only need a few essentials…” the speaker, known as Guru Kiara spoke to the audience and walked around the stage in a simple white flowing outfit. An outfit Elizabeth would never have even touched. She was not good when it came to white things. She listened to the words the Guru in front of her spoke and tried to think of how her apartment would look if she got rid of everything she did not need. She couldn’t imagine it… she needed everything, right?

“You may be currently thinking about your home and all the things in it and maybe be having a hard time thinking of getting rid of the things you may think you need. Here is a simple exercise….” the Guru continued on her explanation and Elizabeth tried to listen, but the words just seemed to slip in one ear and out the other.

Two hours went by and Elizabeth wasn’t sure how she hadn’t fallen asleep through the entire seminar. She had gone to it because her friends had begun joking about her being a hoarder and while she denied it, she worried that perhaps she had started to keep a few too many things. The seminar had been about The Simplicity of Life and How to Get There. Well, Elizabeth felt just about the same way she did as before she went to the seminar. Walking out of the convention center she walked over to the coffee shop just around the corner. She bought her double shot medium mocha and sat down at a table near the window. People watching and sipping on the warm beverage she relaxed into the chair. The day was chilly even if the sun was shining and the hot mocha was perfect to take the edge off.

Watching out the window she recognized a woman walking up to the coffee house. But she couldn’t place her. She watched her walk in and stand in line. The itch of knowing but not knowing was driving Elizabeth a bit nutty. She tried not to stare but kept an eye on the woman. The woman reached into a large bag and started to dig for, what Elizabeth assumed, was her wallet. She finally pulled out a trifold wallet which had the well known Chanel Cavier symbol on the clasp. The wallet itself was a beautiful navy blue with what appeared to be soft leather. The woman quickly opened it and selected one of the credit cards from it. It was easy to see she had quite a few and the wallet wasn’t on the slim side either. Huh, I wonder what Guru Kiara would say about having so many cards in your wallet, Elizabeth mused to herself as she sipped her mocha. The woman ordered an elaborate drink which Elizabeth couldn’t have tried to repeat for the life of her. The woman then stood over by the receiving section, took her elaborate coffee, and walked back out the front door.

Elizabeth, having already finished the mocha in her hand, decided she was going to try and figure out how she knew this well-groomed woman. She got up and threw away her one time use cup and followed the woman outside. The woman’s hair was up in a high ponytail but had beautiful black large curls bouncing as she walked. The woman’s attire was anything from simple, Elizabeth decided and began to wonder if the seminar didn’t actually instill something in her after all. She wore light tan slacks, which seemed to be thick enough for the weather as the woman did not seem uncomfortable, then again it could probably have something to do with the camel colored jacket she wore which looked like real camel… or something leathery and soft anyway, Elizabeth had no idea what it could be beside it probably being nice to touch. The woman’s shoes were another thing Elizabeth noticed, about four inches high, matching the tan color of the pants the woman wore, and with a stylish point in front. Elizabeth would never have been able to wear something like that and walk the streets of the city.

The woman continued walking and Elizabeth tried to act like she wasn’t following her, but kept her insight. She had a sense of wonder about this woman who she thought she knew, but could not put her finger on it. Then the woman did the one thing Elizabeth had been dreading… she got into a car. Frantically, Elizabeth began to look around for a taxi and upon seeing one turn down the street she was in she jumped out into the street from between two cars waving her arms.

“Taxi!” she screamed like a crazy woman.

The taxi driver slammed on his brakes and the sandwich he had been about to take a bite out of went flying across the stirring wheel and onto the window. He cursed the woman who had just jumped in front of his cab.

Elizabeth, glad the driver had stopped, ran around to the back door on the passenger side and jumped in. “Follow that car!” she said pointing at the silver sedan the woman had climbed into and had just pulled into traffic.

The driver looked at the woman in the mirror for a moment. Elizabeth looked back at him wondering if perhaps he may be deaf. “Please, quick! You can’t lose her!”

The driver looked at the car which he was to follow and memorized the license plate number. He then hit a button on the taximeter and pulled back into traffic. The traffic was moving slowly for the moment and the driver pulled out of his center console a pair of driving gloves which he pulled on as he crept through the traffic.

Elizabeth paid no mind to the driver besides being impatient with how slow the traffic was being. Granted the woman was in the same traffic and so was still only a couple of cars ahead, but she was afraid they would lose her. Just as she was about to jump out of the car and run the driver said, “Siri, play Chase Playlist”.  And all of a sudden the music that came from the speakers of the car was something out of a high-end chase movie. With this sudden change of music the driver merged over and all of a sudden, they were right behind the woman.

The traffic eased up and they were following this woman through the streets of the city, never losing sight of her. Elizabeth thought the music was a bit much for the occasion, but the driver seemed to be enjoying it and she wasn’t about to take that away from him

As Elizabeth began to wonder if this whole thing was just too ridiculous for reason the woman merged onto an onramp for the local freeway. The driver followed and began to pick up speed as the rest of the vehicles did. The woman seemed to like to speed and the driver obliged in matching her speed to keep up with her. Making some unnecessary merges and probably going faster than he should Elizabeth had to give it to him, he never did lose the woman’s car.

Elizabeth finally sat back in her seat and buckled the seatbelt. The trip was getting a bit crazier than she would have ever imagined. She held onto the seat and tried to keep from being thrown around the vehicle too badly. She had lost sight of the woman’s car and only hoped the driver hadn’t and wasn’t just driving crazy for the heck of it.

Finally, they took an off ramp which led them to a small suburban area of a town just outside of the main city. Elizabeth could finally see the woman’s car again and slower speeds made her relax a bit. The driver seemed somewhat upset the “chase” seemed to be coming to an end, while Elizabeth hoped the woman lived around her so she could get out of the crazy taxi.

As they watched the car, they saw it pull into a beautifully tailored house with an open gate. The driveway pulled in and around the front to the front of the house and then swung back out the way it came. The woman parked in front of the door which also had a canopy to make it a carport of sorts.

“Pull over there,” Elizabeth indicated to pull just pass the entrance to the driveway. She then grabbed for her wallet and pulled out cash to pay for the ride.

“You know what, don’t worry about it. Rarely do I get a chance to follow a dream I have always had. You helped me enjoy a very mundane day. I hope you the best with whatever is going on. The trip is on me,” he said as he cleared out the taximeter.

Elizabeth surprised stuttered, “Uh, thanks. I hope your day is more enjoyable.” And with that, she stuffed her money and wallet back into her purse and exited the crazy taxi. It drove off out of sight within moments.

Elizabeth shook her head and looked at the house the woman had walked into. She peered up the driveway, and not seeing anyone, she walked up the driveway.

She had no idea what she was going to say or do. Should she just knock on the door and tell her that she thought she knew her and so she had followed her all the way from the city to figure it out? Should she spy through the windows to figure out who this woman was? Should she just call another cab… or a friend and just go home?

But before she had figured out really what she was going to do she was at the front door and staring at the doorbell. She took a breath and rang the bell. As she waited she considered hiding behind the car which was right behind her. Or perhaps she should say she was selling girl scout cookies but had forgotten EVERYTHING about the cookies and was standing there like an idiot. Well, she was standing there like an idiot, but what excuse was she going to tell this woman.

Then the door opened Elizabeth finally knew why she had recognized the woman. It was Guru Kiara from the seminar. But she wasn’t in the plain white outfit and with her hair no longer pulled back, she saw the beautiful curls cascading around her face, framing it like it had up on stage.

“Yes?” the woman said curiously to who this woman was standing on her doorstep. But Elizabeth could only stare in shock.

“You… you… you’re the guru!” Elizabeth finally blurted out.

The look on the woman’s face was ashen and had a show of dread, “Who are you?”

“I was at the seminar this afternoon. I saw you in the coffee shop and couldn’t figure out where I knew you from… because you had a ton of stuff and I assumed…” Elizabeth trailed off as she looked up at the house and behind the woman she now knew to be the false guru.

The woman seemed to relax a tad, “Come inside.” She moved to the side and let Elizabeth walk pass her, she closed the door. “Please, come sit and let me try to help you through what I am sure has been a shock.”

Elizabeth was stunned. The house was EMPTY!

“What I said at the seminar I still hold true. But my getting rid of stuff had to do with the small things. The house and the car are gifts from my parents who won them in a lottery and did not have any use for them. My purse and the things you most likely saw in it… all things I have traded for or purchased at thrift stores. My money is very little, but my life is very full.”

Elizabeth looked at the woman and began to laugh. She laughed and laughed at the absurdity of the day and the absurdity of this woman. “You have NOTHING to show for anything. You have no pictures, you have no… well, you have nothing. I chased a guru who tells us to get rid of our things because they mean nothing in the long run and here she sits with nothing but has nothing to sit on!”

The woman was shocked by what Elizabeth was saying, “I have nothing, but I have a fuller sense of….”

Elizabeth cut her off, “No, you don’t. You don’t even have photos of your parents.”

The woman looked at her empty house like she had never seen it before, “I… But… I…” she sighed, deflated, “I am empty not only in material goods… I am empty within as well. You are right, I have nothing, I have no family to show, I have no real life to live. I do the seminars and that is all I do anymore.” She stopped and looked at Elizabeth. She wasn’t much to look at, but she seemed to be happier than she was. “How are you so happy? What am I missing?”

With that Elizabeth took the guru who told everyone to get rid of everything and told her why material goods were not a thing to despise. They worked out a happy medium over months and months of in-depth talk. And slowly the guru began to add things to her house which had to mean to her. The first being a photo of her parents she placed on the wall opposite her front door.

The next seminar held two women up on stage. They held up items and explained to the people there how to better their lives while still keeping the items they did not want to part with. Repeatedly they told the ridiculous story of how a woman who had gone to a guru seminar had taught the guru herself that she was nothing with what she did not hold near. The audience would typically laugh at the story and shake their heads at the strangeness of the tale, but the ladies did not mind, as long as everyone learned from the adventure which had unfolded. Elizabeth and Guru Kiara were better from having met each other and their lives were richer from what they taught each other.

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