Three Hours & Twenty Minutes.

As I slowly drift off to sleep, her age-worn hair, experience-crushed eyes, and folded skin contorted and writhed rhythmically, her voice protruding from her like an anesthetic needle.  Her clasped hands wrinkled with the softness of tenured comfort, creating valleys of sagging pallor.  There were no fluctuations in her voice, a manifestation of a hot wind in the dry desert of her syllabus.  Adventurous souls proffered answers in the midst of her inquiring pauses, the colorful voices shattering the approaching slumber.  A ghastly smile breaks itself upon her visage, revealing grated tombstones sealed by exhausted lipstick.  Her elbow stays leaned upon her wooden throne, and she is content to slump gently on it as she relays a sermon that might deaden the living.  A lecture this riveting might prove to evaporate the ocean, leaving behind the salty skulls of her silent students.  She begins to rub – scratch, perhaps – the center of her left palm with her right middle finger; is she onto me?  Surely she couldn’t muster up the vigor to make such a crude gesture intentionally.  She continues on her path, eyes ambling left and right, seeking to prey on any form of unsuspecting reciprocation.  She laughs at the yet unspoken but formed thought in her mind, arousing the attention of the dust drifting in the air.  I thirst for life, but I go now to experience, for the thousandth time, the overwhelming weight of listless sand falling on a bed of shells.  Her vocal chords produce the flat, gratingly pleasant tone of an elderly grandmother speaking of experiences obsolete; the class stares everywhere except towards her.  What a life she must lead.  She holds her own syllabus close to her face, as if reading the exhaustive script for the very first time.  Perhaps she finds delight in the tortured lack of sonic participation, savoring each page, each word, as if it were her first time.  How young she was then, how full of fresh curiosity to further her field of study.  Her eyes are now draped by eyelids that have seen one too many refills of the same coffee mug to get her through to the next day.  Her gnarled hands, graced by rings on her index and middle fingers, gesture with the velocity of greased molasses, accompanying an equally soporific sentence.  She rubs beneath her nose; perhaps she herself is unsure of her place among the living and the dead.  She has finished elaborating her syllabus at length to an audience fully capable of perusing its contents.  It is finished.  There are yet two hours to pass.

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