“Why did you make me write that essay on desire, anyway?” Cory pulled harder at a stubborn withered leaf.
Ms. J pushed aside the plants. “You remember the story of da Vinci, don’t you?”
“Of course.” A sigh. “Quote, ‘We should not desire the impossible.’” Cory frowned. This didn’t explain anything.
Ms. J took a deep breath. “How to explain . . .” She pulled off her gloves. “Much of human spirit is spent in a quest for knowledge, justice, truth, beauty, perfection—even love. All worthy pursuits, higher ideals, wouldn’t you agree?”
Cory kept plucking at the potted orchids and shrugged. “Sure.”
“These pursuits, driven by desire . . .” She looked off toward the corner of the ceiling for a moment and seemed to change course. “A very wise man once said, ‘By all means love, by all means desire, but think carefully about what you love and what you desire.’ I wanted to make you think about what you desire.”
“But it wasn’t about me.”
“But it was about what you’ve observed in people around you. Desire and how it operates on the human heart and spirit.” Ms. J came around to Cory’s side of the row. “We desire whatever we think will complete us. And we assume achieving that desire will lead to happiness. But the sad thing is, the objects of our desires, too, can become disappointing.” Ms. J’s face was flushed and glistening.
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