Connection Lost (xx)

Alan sat in the blue-white light of a booklight, reading a classic philosophical text that was doing very little for his mood. Things had been quiet. Very still. Even his granny-like glancing out the windows had not shown much occurring. Though he did see that Japanese girl in the red coat again. After four days without an image of a human being, it amazed him how strong an impression could be made by an unknown girl passing like a bird across the bind.

As the evening wore on Alan heard an increase of traffic in his hallway. He chained his door and shot the bolt. But nobody came to trouble him. They had their own trouble to cause. From the muffled sounds coming down the hall, Alan could tell that one of the apartments had decided to throw a party.

It wasn’t the first time. Half the building was undergrads, after all. They knew each other well enough that they didn’t need cell phones and internet to man the middle; they could just knock on each other’s doors, say hello, face-to-face, get something together. A party of early twentysomethings. A party with no lights, no electricity. No YouTube music, no water in the drinks. A party at the end of the world.

Alan put himself to his reading with a vehemence, and tried to convince himself that being Smart and Safe was really worth the while.

When he woke the next morning, he had the damndest time getting out of bed. The covers were like a cavern to him, and he the monster firmly chained within. It took him half an hour of being a half-asleep half-wit to understand. The blankets were warm. The apartment was cold. So very cold. The heat had gone off in the night.

Over the next span of daylight Alan saw many people go out onto the streets. Some got in their cars and drove away. Some of these came back, but very few; those that did almost always did with a friend or three in tow. Gathering for warmth, perhaps. Pooling resources. Or settling in to engage in plural activities that Alan envied far too much to let himself dwell upon. Some of the people walked towards Harvard or Porter. Some of these returned, a shopping bag or bottle of water under their arms. But most that drove away did not return. And from what he saw, a fair number of those who walked away stayed away too.

By the time the sun had set the street was deserted. No cars, no bikes, no people, no movement at all. Alan’s apartment was silent. And cold.


~ by davekov on 16 December 2011.

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