To a backdrop of the tenement's bare brick walls, its uncurtained windows and the roar of traffic, we sat in the cement dust on the floor and waited with the others. People stood around us in small groups or alone.
The door opened. The quiet murmur of respectful conversation stopped, then resumed. It wasn't her.
A bottle of water was placed on a bare table.
Then she walked in. One or two clapped.
I'm here not to teach but to awaken, she said.
Outside, a siren wailed and the noise of traffic lessened for just a few moments.