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"At this blind hour"
Though Miriam Deslaurier had only, by another vague friendship, met him this morning on her way to class, already, walking now as they did by faceless others, she giggled, and he smiled at her giggle. He asked her this. “You know those vending machines? You know when the bottle drops? Imagine that if one day someone’s buying a Coke and when the bottle comes down it explodes all over them.” His arms drew the explosion in mid air. “You think that’s ever happened before?” She told him with a face that is the adulation of youth. “Only if he’s been having a bad day, Lewis.” The two were off from a long six hours that was nothing but grey cloud and undecided rain, it rained sometime after five this morning and a little at twelve. But the fields along campus and the park nearby grew brighter still. And the mild air reminded him of his childhood as he said after Miriam wondered over how nice the weather’s been today, after shyly saying “hello” to each other when they had met at a busy intersection in a crowd.
Looking down ahead of them now, their legs in some harmony with one another’s, Miriam asked him questions about school. About what work there is and what’ll happen afterwards. Worry didn’t burden down her words like it did for most.
“I’ve been wanting to go to Bishop’s for awhile now. But I’m not sure I’ll be able to get in more or less afford a year’s worth there.” He told her. “But yeah, this semester is like the last one for me too because I don’t take my classes that seriously.”
“Mm yeah, I know what you mean. I just wish I knew what I’m doing here is something worthwhile or the time.”
“What do you mean?”
“I have no idea what I’m doing here. You know how in the social sciences they’re supposed to, to f***ing uh, introduce you to all these different subjects and then you expand or something? Well, I’ve been here three semesters and I could not care a f*** all about all this.”
“They should reimburse you a years half of your life.” he joked.
“F*** I wish they could reimburse me, I would’ve gone to Paris, or Europe, you know? I want to live my life first.” She smiled up at him.
There was nothing said for a moment and the yells and laughter of other students cued across the air. A few others passed by, heading to night class, some of which Lewis knew since he nodded at them. After meeting the end of an intersection another block of the neighbourhood began until it got interrupted by a real metropolitan street with cars and buses and the first metro station that extended from here to the farthest ends of the island. But for now some simple houses were by their right.
“So where do you live, Lewis?”
“I live on the South-West of the island.”
“That’s how far?”
“It’s an hour’s metro ride, then a little walking.”
“Oh, that’s easy. Metros are the easiest. My routes all buses and with winter coming up it’s going to be some hassle.”
“Buses are already late to begin with. Metros always stop in between stops. That ever happen to you? It’s going along fine and all and suddenly,” he made the humming sound like big machinery turning off, slowly flicking his hand down too, “it does that? Lights turn off and everything. And you’re stuck there thinking-“
“I’m going to die! I’m going to die!” Miriam laughed. “Oh I forgot about that! Don’t make me all paranoid now, f***. Whenever that happens I think the train’s going to catch fire with us all still stuck inside.”
“Or something like Tremors.”
“I haven’t heard that name for like ten years... yeah, something like.”
“Although that appeared in Men in Black, you know Jeffrey?”
“Are you paranoid? Like, do you believe in ghosts- the supernatural?” Asked suddenly looking up at him. Lewis fixed his bag a bit.
“I haven’t really thought about that, no. I.. don’t know.”
“Oh, you’re probably not going to believe me then but here’s a story. Yesterday me and my friend were walking towards the N building, we were getting closer to the door and the door just opened.” She looked to him, laughing in between her words. “There was no wind, no rain, nothing! It just opened. And we when walked in it closed behind us. I was so scared.”
“It’s a gentleman’s door, Miriam. But I don’t see where you’re paranoid in all that.”
“I guess I just am. I sleep with a knife. It’s something my ex boyfriend used to do and now I just got used to it.” She shyly admitted. Turning now onto the noisy corner, “what?” Lewis asked, “it’s this thing my boyfriend does- sleeping with a knife.”
“What if you’re sleeping one day and your mom comes to wake you up and you-“ he made a stabbing motion, “you stab her.”
“That would never happen. Although sometimes I hear my mom calling me at night. And when I go to ask her what she wants she tells me that she never called me. That she was asleep with the door closed. Then who the f*** was calling me?”
Lewis had started to slacken his pace as Miriam slowed. They were now less than five minutes away from where each would separate to go on their own walks and rides home.
“Ah, I only get that when I’m listening to music that’s loud and my dad always has to call me then.”
“I f***ing hate that! And when I listen to those songs now my mom calls me in it. Though she doesn’t.’”
“That’s why I don’t listen to Erotic Nightmares by Steve Vai anymore.” He muttered.
“What music do you listen to?”
“Jazz, classical.” He put his face into his hand. “Uh, acoustic new age?”
“Oh- what kind?”
“I’ll search him tonight when I get home. Here’s a band you should search. They’re sort of progressive rock and so I don’t know if you’ll like it but it’s A Perfect Circle. You know those albums where you don’t need to skip songs? This one’s it. They have a song called ‘Blue’, search it up, okay?” They now arrived at that point. Miriam’s shuttle bus was down there, so close that beside him he could see people getting on, he looked to the window beside him.
“Wait, hold on a second.” He took out his phone fiddled with some buttons. “Okay, what were they, their names?”
She gave him this list and while he busied himself with that they had made a little orb in the crowd.
“I suppose we’ll meet someday in school or something when we’ve listened to all our suggestions.” He said with his head down still. Miriam had her phone out too.
“Well, I have to go this way.”
“Yeah, I’ll see you soon.”
“I guess I will.”
“We do go to the same school.”
“Yeah of course.”
“I’ll see if I like them- A Perfect Circle.”
Miriam’s voice was fading from the crowd.
“And Michael Hedges right?”
“Okay, bye Lewis.”
Heading down to the train he muttered several times to himself. “I should’ve gotten her f***ing number.”