[ or-i-GAH-mee ]
- The art of folding paper into various shapes.
- An object made by folding paper.
** Either a story beginning, a story ending, a piece of flash fiction, a poem, painting, dance move—inspired by the word, origami, where does it take me? Where does it take you? Learn more about “The Word” here.
Mr. Habor pointed silently to the chair in front of his desk, and the boy took the seat in equal silence. Harbor leaned forward, his hands folded beneath his chin, elbows on the desk.
“So, Tyler,” Mr. Harbor began. “What is it that has you being sent to the principle’s office?”
Tyler looked up from his hands, his legs dangling off the edge of the seat. “I… I…”
“Go on,” Mr. Harbor encouraged. “Best to just get it out.”
“I pushed Adam and kicked dirt at him.” Tyler dropped his head again.
“I see,” Harbor said. Then, he pulled a square piece of paper from a pile on his right and placed it in front of Tyler. “Here, join me.”
Harbor pulled another piece from the pile for himself. Tyler looked up and stood before the desk and the piece of paper.
“Start,” Harbor said, “by folding this corner to that corner. Like this.” He demonstrated the act.
Tyler followed along, and Mr. Harbor talked Tyler through several more folds and tucks of the paper. It was starting to take shape.
“Very good, Tyler,” Harbor encouraged. “Now, this is the final step. Are you ready?”
“Yes.” Tyler nodded his head.
“We’re going to bring this piece over, and tuck it into this little pocket we made earlier. See?”
Tyler didn’t respond but showed his understanding by executing the fold.
“There,” Harbor said, and he held up what they made: a paper heart. “Remember, Tyler. No matter what was going on today with you and Adam, we must always lead with this.”
Tyler stared at the paper heart in Mr. Harbor’s hand, then down to the one in his own hands. Again, Tyler didn’t speak but nodded.
“Ok, back to class!” Harbor said with a smile.
Tyler went to leave the paper heart behind on the desk.
“No,” Harbor said. “That’s for you.”
Tyler picked it up with a smile and left the office. A minute later, another student walked into the office with her head hanging down. Harbor pointed to the seat before the desk, and she sat down.
“Melody, what brings you to the principle’s office today?”
I’m not sure if there’s any more of a story beyond this short piece. Yet, I like the two main ideas. The first is to always lead with the heart. In all things, lead with the heart. Second, is the idea of the principle dishing out discipline in the form of meditative origami.
Instead of everything being a punishment, this principle sees things as if everyone is learning. I wonder if we could tell a similar story with older students or even adults? I think that would be a much harder sell. At some point, we are told that we “should know better.”
The story here could explore that line. Where is it? At what age should we know better? What circumstances might lead to extending that line beyond the normal? It’s not about justifying bad behavior—behavior not led with the heart—but passing out of that stage of innocence and into responsibility.
Turns out, there is a larger story to tell here! Who would’ve thought?
What do you think of Origami?
What kind of a principle do you think you would be?
Leave your thoughts, your own story beginning/ending, flash-fiction, or whatever in the comments! Where did origami or my story take you?
If you liked this story, check out my podcast of short stories, More Than A Story.
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