Dying Space

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The tapestries on the see-through yellow curtains quivered listlessly in the wind, the form twisted into shadow and light. Waves of heat rippled on the cracked wooden floor. The window cast a dying shadow that snaked its way to a dry, red brick heath in the afternoon sun. Though warped the floorboards were recently polished a dull brown. A red sofa huddled in one corner, and in the center of the large room nearing the back wall, were a very businesslike office desk and a black leather chair. The paper lies underneath the ashtray a few letters scrawled on the front- words barely legible in the darkening room. A trace of cologne mingled in the air with stale cigar smoke. The edges of the paper rose and fell gentle in the light breeze, alongside a pen on the fringe of the oak-colored desk. The sound of groaning pierced the quiet and a shadow swayed, constant like the tireless flicker of a candle on white washed walls. The ceiling was high. A small iron fixture abandoned by its small ornate chandelier fastened itself to a thick line of green nylon. The pen had begun to leak. And other than the deadweight hanging from the abandoned iron hook there was a very soft pit patter and fall of dismal driblets of ink.

Twenty hours ago. He had written slowly. The days are long, like an eternity of blistering night. The soft black leather chair had clung to his ruffled unbuttoned shirt revealing his unshaven perspiring chest. And his fingers had thumbed nervously at the quivering pen. The darkness grows deeper, an oasis without an end. The lights grow dimmerever so often plunging me into blissful sleep. I long to sleep…to dream. He exhaled gruffly warm stale breath into the cold night air.

His erratic stare had searched the vacant white walls. Now and then glancing up at the yellow curtains, the open window the small empty desk. He had lit his last cigarette and his eyelids closed drearily over watery burning brown eyes.

She smiled. She had a soft, shy mouth and piercingly innocent eyes; reddish brown hair clung to her delicate shoulders. He had felt silly and childish under her gaze. A momentary nervous chill slithered through his tall slender body. It was late. Attention New Jersey transit passengers the 7:45 train to New York will be operating ten minutes late. The voice reiterated into the tired ears of a few students packed lightly for the weekend. A man and woman in black garb shuffled impatiently. The woman whispered anxiously, her furrowed brows distracting, her eyes adverting to the empty tracks. The man glared at his watch. They moved together into the small building to wait.

“I feel like a drink,” she said “, would you like a drink?”

He hesitated. The train might take less than ten minutes. The sudden request had surprised him.

He noticed she usually waited at the train station, part of the crowd. He would look away if she happened to look his way. And stride to the far side of the station walkway where he would be just close enough to comfortably stare. Until the loud siren of the train’s grinding metallic wheels squealed to a halt and people scuttled out of the claustrophobic station building onto the pavement.

He nodded, taken aback, he felt at a loss for words. She led the way down the gray stairs into the heart of the station and out onto the sidewalk.

That Friday afternoon had been calm. They had trailed the sidewalk together over a small patio toward a lightly lit bakery.

He opened his eyes and through a light haze of smoke reached for the phone.


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