It was almost midnight, and I was on a train headed towards…San Jose? The only thing I remembered was that I had went to the orthodontist to have my wisdom teeth removed earlier in the day, but here I was, sitting in an empty train compartment with my briefcase, headed towards San Jose.
Ads for Subway. Inspirational posters. Make-room-for-pregnant-ladies-signs. I looked around, trying to find clues to help me orientate myself. But when I reached into my pocket to grab my phone, out came a piece of paper instead.
"Anything you lose comes around in another form."
What was a Rumi quote doing in my pocket? Right now, the only thing that was lost was myself. The train began slowing down, and I could see a shining light at the end of tunnel. Perhaps I would just wander around for a while…
I stepped outside the cart, and immediately noticed the bright billboard flashing. Welcome to San Jose, the healthiest and wisest city in the U.S. Beside it was a shape that looked somewhat like a tooth, with the words ‘Find me’ graffitied on.
By now I had caught on. Something was wrong, something was lost, and something needed to be found.
First stop? The tourist center, because I needed a map. It was tucked behind a large shopping mall, the tourist center, and two lights shone on the porch, lighting a table filled with maps of San Jose and other fliers. I grabbed the closest flier, and headed out. As I flipped through the pamphlet, weird images began popping out at me. Teeth, teeth and more teeth. All of the parks were shaped like TEETH…And in the middle of the Coyote Creek trail was a tiny star.
From the train station, Coyote Creek was roughly thirty minutes away. Despite it being pitch black outside, I flagged down a cab to take me to Coyote Creek. The driver gave me a few questioning looks, but didn’t argue. We rode in silence, and when we neared the forest, I handed him twenty-five dollars. He handed me a receipt, and I stepped outside. The cab made a U-turn at the corner, and I was left alone at the edge of the forest.
At the end of the lane was a lone lamp, the orangish light shining down on the pavement. I moved towards it, and as I came closer, I happened to glance down at the receipt in my hand, But it was no longer just a receipt. On it were scribbled the words, “We cannot become what we need to be by remaining what we are.”
Teeth….San Jose…wisest city…quotes about wisdom….something that I had lost….
MY WISDOM TEETH. Someone had sent me to find my wisdom teeth. And they were somewhere in the middle of Coyote Creek. I found the head of the trail, and began heading out towards the lake. Wisdom? This was not wise at all. A low whispering near my left caught my attention, and I moved slowly towards the noise.
“Now and then, it’s good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy.”
“Yes, you’re right. Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.”
“And if you keep your face to the sun, you will never see a shadow.”
I burst through the woods, prepared to witness four wisdom teeth ready to bestow upon me their answers to life. But only a tiny white rock lay in the clearing. I picked it up, and flipped it over.
“Wisdom isn’t something you find. Wisdom is something that finds you.”
I looked up, and saw four bright stars twinkling down at me. They grew larger and brighter, and suddenly I felt someone tap my shoulder.
“Here. Let’s get you in a wheelchair. For the next week, make sure she doesn’t eat anything that will cause her mouth to bleed.”
I was staring at four bright lights on the ceiling of the orthodontist’s room. But in my hand, I was still holding a tiny white rock.