As I pressed my face into the comfort of my thickly sleeved arms, I did not think of the collection of bodies around me. Bodies talking, bodies laughing, bodies just sitting. I let my chin rest on the table. Wrapped in my own arms, I was protected from the awkward silences, the loneliness, the jokes not intended for me. In my small cocoon the sound of voices was soothing. All I could hear was the rhythm of their sounds, not caring for their words. I didn’t care what they thought. I didn’t care if I looked like I was crying. I wasn’t crying. I didn’t feel enough of anything to do that. My chin buzzed. Someone’s phone was going off on the table. I flicked my eyelids open, realizing that they had been closed all this time. The pale grain of the table filled my vision. For a few moments I followed the lines, hopping to new ones when they ended. Then, the vibrating phone had finished it’s plea for attention. I tightened the warmth and darkness with a gentle pull of my arms, closing my eyes consciously this time.
I could feel the grooves of my knitted jumper pressing an imprint into my forehead. But I didn’t care. I just wanted to sit there forever, holding my tired and sad head. I ignored the odd pokes and rustles attempting to rouse me at first; but soon I had blocked them out completely, I was in my own world. Just like I had tuned out of the words, I turned all sounds into my own lullaby. But I didn’t want to sleep. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, but at that moment I was not going to move.
My cheeks began to grow hot, but a warmth I desired. I had been cold and lonely for too long. Here, in my own little space, none of that mattered. I remembered the rawness of my pink hands as they hung limply by my sides. I never really swung my arms much. Sometimes they called me a monkey.
This moment of quiet, lone weariness was like those long lazy stretches of time when you are just falling to sleep. Not quite there, but slowly losing grip of consciousness, slowly letting yourself be taken by dreams. Yes, this was like holding a dream. Time was becoming distorted, and I wondered how long I had been there. It could have been minutes or hours, it made no difference. I judged by the hum of noise that had lowered slightly that less bodies were surrounding me. Bodies gone to re adjust their faces and hair, bodies gone to fill up their brains with pieces if knowledge.
Somehow the sharp ring of the bell did not surprise me. It did not jolt me back up, back out of my trance. I slowly loosened my arms and allowed myself up. And I traipsed off to join the bodies, pretending to fill up my brain with a teacher’s supposedly useful chatter. But my brain was elsewhere.