following cords

I’m walking up a hill, and my legs are like lead, struggling with each step to lift the leg enough off the ground to move it forward and set it down again, and then the next one. I’m embarrassed by my infirmity and try to hide it from anyone’s notice– I can’t hide the slowness of my progress, but I hide every other telltale sign, grimacing only inwardly. finally, in sheer gratitude, I make it to the top of the hill.

we’re in a lawyer’s office to discuss some type of pro-bono case, when the lawyer has to rush off to a high-profile meeting– he seems kind of hassled out that we’re there, but we have nowhere else to go. he’s rushing around, looking for something he’s misplaced– at first I think it’s his pen, but then he says his cell phone– he’s all irritated and can’t be bothered to ask for help looking. I suggest the couch cushions, and he impatiently says, no, no, I already looked there, but the couch has a bunch of stuff on it and looks to me like the likeliest place– so I go over and start pawing through the piles of newpapers and stray cushions and see a couple of cell phone earbuds and am sure I’m on the right track– I hear a beep, followed by a girl’s voice saying, hello? hello? out of the depths of the seat cushions and dig around and find a blackberry, all illuminated, and a girl on the other end of the line and hand it over to the lawyer– but it only turns out to be his daughter’s cell phone, and her voice on the end of the line– so I go back to searching, following cords down into the very guts of the sofa, inside the stitching, but come up only with dead ends.

I go down the hall in my dormitory to the room of a girl who keeps to herself and whom I’m not entirely sure I like– I think I’ll catch her while she’s out, but she’s there, just for a moment– I’m eyeing a little dollhouse-type structure that looks like it’s filled with tiny chili pepper lights and trying to figure out how it works– she lifts off the roof and unwinds the lights from the tiny chimney and hands me the plug end and points past my shoulder to another plug end, and I attach them and, hey presto, string lights. I’m a little disappointed that the lights aren’t set up the illuminate the tiny house– there’s some resistance I feel about investing in this temporary place, and it bothers me somehow that she’d blythely set up string lights in the room as if they’d be there forever.

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