Lull. | Teen Ink


April 4, 2018
By nshipley GOLD, Mount Hermon, California
nshipley GOLD, Mount Hermon, California
11 articles 0 photos 0 comments

“I bought a DVD player and then a month later it went on sale with a rebate and they sent me ten dollar rebate in a cash card for the department store, but when I went to buy something with that ten dollars, it didn’t go through, so. . .” A machine in the kitchen had enough of itself and came to a halt. From another table: “No answer, so I call again, no answer a second time, so I call again, a third time no answer. It was becoming ridiculous! . .” Two exhausted fans above began to slow, and one of the table lamps began to flicker. Another table: “What was I supposed to do? Clean it up? No, it was their building! She was the one that works there--their building, their mess, right? I swear--and that cashier-lady! She wasn’t doing anything about it! It was all over the floor and she wasn’t doing anything about it! I told her it was becoming a safety hazard. Someone could have slipped on it. . .” A switch in another room would no longer toggle and a TV above the bar went black. Another: “I ordered the purple version online, but they said I ordered the blue version, which I know I didn’t.” Six patrons detached from their dinners, and set their silverware onto soft, still napkins. Another: “I wanted the granite tile in the kitchen and not in the hallway, but he wanted granite in the hallway and not in the kitchen.” Four phone batteries died, an expected beep from the register did not go, and three more fans stopped spinning. “So I put the heater there to keep it warm, and I have, like, forty gallons in there, and I put it at a hundred and fifty watts, for this long. My question was then, how much does it actually heat the water up, by the--by the liter? After two hours, the temperature was six degrees hotter, which means it probably doesn’t heat it but just maintains the temperature.” The circulating music found end to its tune, and outside, a street lamp illuminating the highway began to dim, just after it had shown on the last vehicle that would pass through for a while. “We got about forty members, forty-three maybe, but only thirty of them are active. We have what we call a participation discount, which means that the more you participate, the less you have to pay.” A man closed the lid to his computer and set it aside to look out the window, ending a cacophonic pattering of lonely typing, “It wasn’t working right. So it’s kinda funny, ya know? And they got pictures of getting a permit to put erosion control on, ya know, on the west side but no permit to put erosion control on the east side. So guess what happened last year? The east side got all washed out, right? So it’s like all these agencies are stepping on each other, and it’s like, what are you trying to accomplish?” All the lights went out.
Silence. Absolute silence. The people had said enough, the machines had moaned and worked enough, the forks and silverware and dishes had clattered enough, the fans above had rotated enough, the lights had illuminated enough, the music had played enough. This moment, which they existed in(confusedly), was the very rare cosmic instance when all insignificant things with insignificant voices simultaneously pause to catch their breath; thus expanding a pocket of pure celestial gentleness and serenity--a lull. Except for their eyes which glanced around this place, no one, nothing moved. The earthly faces showed petrified amazement. So foreign was this peace to them, these patrons of an evening restaurant. They trembled, fearing that that the omniscience of the space around them would disintegrate their entity. They realized their intrusion, their reeking presence within this naked frontier, their brevity. Yet, never before had they felt so true and alive. In this suspension, they could see where they were in the galaxy, feeling that they could understand the life of a single water molecule within the vast swell of an unyielding ocean, or the life of a star forever wafting in the star system. . . .

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