school is my sole companion.

My friend, Mark, told me over a virgin mojito Saturday night that he video chats while studying. He explained that it's like digitally sitting at opposite ends of a library table, clicking at a keyboard or silently reading; enjoying another's presence, but remaining detached enough to complete individual homework assignments.

Today I had to a lot of Spanish studying to do. I scouted and claimed the most comfortable table with the most aesthetic lighting and the most scenic view. After two hours I realized that the frequency of glancing at my cell phone was increasing. I kept hoping for a blinking red light indicating a text message. I couldn't stop checking the time.

A boy approached and silently motioned for permission to sit at the opposite end of my table. He was red and sweaty. I could smell him from where I was sitting.
He pulled out a Russian textbook and scribbled sloppy words with a ballpoint pen on some wide rule paper. He never removed his earbuds.
Somehow his smelly and wordless presence calmed me. I stopped checking my phone and focused more clearly.

I felt some regret when he got up to leave.


mim said...

It's almost summer! You can make it!

laura said...

but i'm hitting it hard again in the spring. :(

Aubrey and Jardan said...

Laura! I've missed you. The other day Jardan got a kid's graphic novel to read with Eve, and when he showed it to me I said, "But does it have to be graphic??" :) I'm glad to be in touch again.