“Heart Songs in Flight”

A short story by Michèle Thibeau

Taxiing down the runway

“Passive vs. active is not where it’s at,” Sarma explained, with a smile. “Active is the answer, for not choosing — being passive — is also a choice.”

The young woman relaxed in her chair at the front of the class. This audience had come to hear what she had to say. She exhaled, and her shoulders came down from their perch near her ears. With a flip of the switch, Sarma had turned on!


“Now where the real challenge lies,” she continued, “is in where we funnel our power. And that power comes from our passion, which is fueled by our hearts.”

Bravo entered the room. I could tell the instant it happened. There was no sound though his arrival was observed. I saw it in the mirror before me.

Sarma’s eyes shifted to and from the back of the room. She paused, her mouth about to form a word, her hands in mid-air. The hesitation was slight, as if she were processing a new course of action.


“Our hearts,” she repeated, slowly, more for her own benefit than ours, “can be used for many purposes, like peace and positive change.” Her right arm took up position on her lap, her hand firmly protecting her kneecap.

Engine trouble

I caught her eye and nodded ever so slightly. My spine tingled and my heart hummed. Keep going.

“Our hearts,” she said, as her right arm floated back up to meet her left, palms open, “are beautifully constructed engines. They run smoothly on peaceful, positive paths. They falter and fill with… gunk, and sputter when forced to turn against the grain. The negative paths hit our hearts like stones, pebbles that scar. We bleed. Our engines bleed, our hearts bleed.”


She glanced at the back of the classroom, at Bravo and his heart of stone. For anyone who could have forsaken Sarma surely had to be dried up, broken, had to have a heart filled with gunk. Her courage made me smile, again.

“Only we have the power to change our path. We have to actively choose peace, positivity, collaboration. We are built to adapt to change, to seek the right path, and to find it again. Choosing to put our engines to work on the road filled with passion may not always be easy, but it is the only one that will be filled with the right kind of energy to make our hearts sing most passionately.”

Preparing to descend

My heart hit a high C. You did it! This was a victory. Sarma had broken through the clouds that had shrouded her for months. She was beaming, and the energy in the audience was alive.

“Thanks for your attention. May your hearts be engines for peace,” said Sarma, her arms outstretched, her palms open, ready to give and to receive.

A smooth landing

Fueled by the solid burst of applause, Sarma lowered her arms and wheeled off to the side of the room. Her smile was a beacon, a signal to the host that her message had been delivered.

Mission accomplished

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