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1 May 2006 / April

Soliloquy at 8:30 PM in the McHenry Lounge

I walk into the lounge with muffled steps. There is one girl sitting in a corner, her feet up on a table, doing her homework. I sit on the opposite side of the room, facing the sunset. I like the chairs here; they are plush and cozy. The carpet has a soothing dappled pattern of blues and grays and watery greens, turning into broad stripes near the wall. The smooth colors of the sky, striped as well but with red and pink and gold, are reflected in the windows of the building, in the distant lake.

A friend of the girl comes, and another. They sit and talk softly about school, relationships, the things college students talk about. Occasionally, they break into laughter. The elevator beeps serenely, announcing the arrival of its passenger at the desired floor, followed by the whoosh of its doors opening. A cell phone rings, in its digitalized rendition of “Für Elise.” Somewhere around the corner, a guy starts to play the guitar and sing in a clear, happy voice.

The noise doesn’t shatter the quiet, but supports it somehow, adds rippling layers of complexity to it like the underlying currents of a lazily flowing river. Here, quiet simply is, no matter what. It is like another molecule of the atmosphere: there is nitrogen, there is oxygen, and there is quiet.

I lean back in my chair, absorbing the solitude, and smile.

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