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    My daily writing--emails, journal entries, marginalia, more emails, blog posts, and tweets--shapes me as a writer, helping and hindering the big stuff I'm trying to accomplish. Every word counts.

    My name is James Black. I'm on Facebook and Twitter. Friend and/or follow me if you like.

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Was Mine

Although I spend my days on a campus with a couple thousand students and a few hundred employees, I experienced a moment alone today. The strange part is that I was in the middle of campus, walking back from lunch when I realized that for the last few steps I hadn’t seen anyone.

I took another step, scanning the distance. There was no one entering or exiting the many buildings in my view or on the sidewalks that connect them. I stopped to look behind me. No one.

Any moment, someone would surely appear. But when? The lull extended for another second, then another. It was like waiting for a kettle to squeal. The water whispers as it begins to heat, gradually building in excitement until you know that within seconds you’ll hear the piercing sound and see steam blasting from the spout. Except I heard nothing. No sign that anything would happen or that anyone would appear.

Maybe this had happened before but I failed to notice. I moved slowly, my shoes not tapping on the concrete. I studied the windows of the residence hall I approached. Surely someone was in there, but the windows’ glare concealed any inhabitants.

For that brief moment, I had the felt sense of something subtly poignant. The stillness was stunning but not overwhelming. And it ended with the slow fade-in of a car coming up the main drive. The driver, clearly visible, had his window down and let his arm hang down the side of the car. The significance of my moment quickly evaporated, leaving only a thin residue.

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One Response

  1. This reminds me of scenes in Philip Pullman’s /His Dark Material’s/ trilogy, where Lyra and Will slip through these “windows” into alternate universes. One of them is eerily people-free yet otherwise similar to the Real World.

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