The class files out and spills into the hallway, empty from another day of administrative routine and rigidity. I follow the congregation mindlessly, with an air of purpose and feigned confidence, only to turn the corner to another deserted impasse. A soft digital whisper from my pocket reminds me that, yes, outside of this abandoned hall, I am connected to another world of flickering appointments, missed deadlines, and unreturned messages. The name glows from the plastic screen, an opaque mirage of unmet expectations and childish daydreams.
With a trained twitch of the thumb, I answer the call after the fourth ring, without a word. It utters a simple hello. Like a lightning bolt piercing through a blanket of darkness, the sound of his voice illuminates, just for a moment, the buried existence of routine for which I mistook as tranquil reality. A silent moment slips away into the static binding us gently together.
I inhale, only to feel the pressure of endless questions and demands for explanations, squeeze against the seams of my chest. I exhale, remembering the first encounters, bursts of inexplicable laughter, cherished nights of vulnerability and honesty made oh the more beautiful by nostalgia.
Shaking, I switch it off, closing the flood of confusion, longing, and resentment. And abruptly the wavelengths cut away and the world resembles again the simple solitude of silence.
With an air of predetermined audacity she lets down her hair, auburn curls dancing down the curve of her slender shoulders. She pauses, tilts her head to the right 25 degrees, turns her chin downwards, and glances at the plastic reflection before her. “Too forward,” she notes, and slumps back in her leather executive chair. Scratching the mole behind her right ear, she examines the face before her. “The lighting isn’t right.” A flick of the desk lamp, an adjustment to her screen and she immediately looks livelier—a young, high spirited adventurer with a tinge of orange-tan, masking the dark circles of sleepless nights and quiet days spent in monotonous isolation.