He stood for a little while in the dark, upstairs, thinking. Eventually, he turned the light on and went over to his desk. He slumped into the chair. One of his hairs remained on the desktop, distinctly black against the white. It had fallen into the shape of a question mark. He stared at it for a long time. He supposed he could go elsewhere to buy pencils – there were stores open all night. No: he was too tired. Anyway, his eyes felt like lead already. He chuckled. Although, he remembered, pencils were really made of graphite. He frowned, and went to sleep. He awoke the next morning at eight-thirty-four. For a few moments he saw his room through his eyelashes, as an abstraction of light and carpet and wardrobe, but he blinked a few times, and the room came into focus. He grabbed his pencil from under his pillow and put it back behind his ear. He went downstairs to the kitchen, and turned on the kettle. Eventually it whistled to him, so he turned it off and poured slowly, carefully, into his mug. The smell of tea and the steam of the boiling water was an opiate to our young man. He breathed it in slowly, letting it sooth his sinuses, and cover his eyelids with warm mist. He drank it in small sips. Once his mug was empty, he prepared for the day. As he was leaving, he gave the mirror a cursory glance. He looked okay. He repositioned the pencil behind his ear, and left the house. Where was he headed? He forgot momentarily. Then he remembered: the university. He had a class to attend. There was the scent of wet asphalt in the air, but the sky looked blue and serene. It was the same when he arrived at the university. There seemed to be hardly anybody around, which was strange. He reached the correct room and found that the class had already begun, which was extremely disorienting because he knew he was early. He knocked timidly on the door, and entered. Nobody noticed him come in, which was a relief. He took his seat and pulled out his notepad from his pocket, and his pencil from his ear. He looked at the professor – he hadn’t seen her before. She was talking about something he hadn’t heard of. Ham-something. He sighed. He was in the wrong class. He closed his notebook and slid his HB back behind his ear. Standing up quietly, he began to walk out. He didn’t understand – this was the correct room. He would have to figure it out later. 37
Hearsay: On Dit's creative writing edition.