After J.B.'s disappearance, school life seemed to return to normal. But underneath the lake of quiet was a scalding mess of anger, ready to blow. But without J.B.'s guidance, no one had an outlet for this anger. A few people tried to keep up the tradition of tying shoes, but nothing rebellious happened without the charismatic energy that J.B. exuded.
Eman became the one who filled this vacuum of power, but he surprised people with his calmness and lack of direct hatred of the school administration. Instead of practicing hate, he spoke of good news and the future. And in this school known for cynicism, his message touched a nerve for people who were tired of their blind anger. The students discovered that it was easier to hate the current time than to love the idea of a brighter future.
"Turn away from wrong and believe the good news!" Eman would say.
Another tenet of Eman's practice was having followers. J.B. may have energized crowds, but he seemed more of a god, someone to admire, but not befriend. Eman took every step to be more like the student body; playing sports, helping out with homework, and copying notes for when his friends were absent. Eman did not exclude anyone from following him, but he took care in choosing his friends.
Soon after J.B.'s disappearance, but before his popularity put him on the social radar, Eman noticed Sarah and Audrey cheerleading. Both girls seemed to put their whole soul into their hobby, and never stopped encouraging their fellow cheerers. This particular game, like all others, saw Lyons Central winning handily. Cheering a winning team can be fun for awhile, but constant winning sapped the spirit of the other, less hardy cheerleaders. Sarah and Audrey never ceased in supporting their home team, but inside, they ached for something more invigorating.
Eman admired their never-ceasing optimism in the face of monotony, and he called out to them, "Come. Follow me. Stop cheering the cheered, and I will make you cheerers of the cheerless."
Different people claim that the conversation went differently, but Sarah and Audrey both probably said something along the lines of, "No, you're crazy. We may want change, but leaving our posts in the middle of the game is plain crazy."
Not many people know Eman's response, either, but everyone agrees on his actions. The basketball team's Gatorade supply had just run out, and with a whole quarter left to play, the team's thirst needed to be quenched.
Eman silently walked over, grabbed the Gatorade cooler and went to the water fountain, the one no one used because of its tendency to be warm. He filled it up with water, and went back to the bench, where he placed it on the team table. The bench players The coach skeptically took a cup, filled it up, and took a sip.
"Delicious!" The coach roared, his facing showing a rare smile.
Walking back to the door, Eman took one last glance at the cheerleaders, who looked at each other for a quick second, then followed him out the door.