I am staring at two men who are outside of the library which I am in. They’re both just staring at their phones. Well, one of them just started walking away, but still. They were just standing there, maybe fifteen feet away from each other, staring at their phones, facing the same direction – towards me. The man on the right (the one who walked away) had dreadlocks and a backpack, flip-flops (probably, I didn’t actually see, though), a t-shirt, and a headband. He was wearing orange headphones with a thick cord.
Okay, the other man is leaving now. He’s got a dog with him, on a leash. It’s a lab-something mix, it looks like. This man looks cleaner than the other man. Not like his skin or anything is cleaner, because the other man was not dirty, but ‘cleaner’ in the sense that he’d be more welcome at a nice restaurant or bank, even though he was wearing the same things – minus the dreadlocks and headband, plus he probably wasn’t wearing sandals. What makes one look ‘cleaner’ than another, and why do we want to eat or do our banking next to someone who resembles that image as much as possible? Will there be more money in my bank account if the guy being helped next to me has fresh-pressed slacks? Will my dinner taste better the farther away homeless people are from it?
Anyways, this guy with the dog has left now. There’s another guy now pacing in circles, staring at his phone in the same spot. I’m not sure why everyone is staring at their phone, and especially why they are doing so in this spot. The spot everyone is stopping at is maybe another ten feet away from a gazebo with a picnic table in it.
The last guy is now walking away, too. They all seem to leave in sort of the same way. They’re staring at their phone, just staring nonstop, and then they look up for maybe ten seconds, then back down. After that, they all walk, wobbly, like they’re going to fall over, towards the same direction.
Here’s another one now. He’s wearing the same clothes as the last guy, but it isn’t a uniform or anything like that. They both just have a blue shirt with an odd design on it and some baggy jeans. This guy is also walking around in circles, ten feet from the gazebo, still staring at his phone. He’s now walking to the spot where they all happen to look up for about ten seconds… and there it is! He, too, is now walking, like he’s extremely drunk, off in the direction of the others, after having looked up for ten seconds.
I’ve watched this happen for the last hour or so. People, all wearing the blue shirt with the weird design on it and baggy jeans would come to the same spot while staring at their phones, look up for ten seconds and walk away, drunk-looking. They would show up on the walking trail outside the library every five minutes or so, one at a time. They would quickly walk past anyone on the trail so that they could get to the spot to wander around, staring at their phones. This is what I witnessed for an hour, and then it changed.
The men have began coming more and more. No there is no one on the walking trail except the men in blue. There had been an abundance of strollers with moms, grandparents walking, small families riding their bikes together – now there is nothing except the men. They were still doing their same routine, but now they are coming every couple of minutes, sometimes two at once. They do not acknowledge each other. There is no speaking, no looking at each other, and their pacing patterns are kept away from the one another. They’re coming more and more. Three at a time every two minutes, five at a time every ninety seconds, seven every minute…
And now none. They all walked away from vision, there have been maybe two hundred all together that passed.
I am still not sure what could be going on with these men, or whatever mission they were on. But for a moment, I couldn’t help but think of you. Here I was, spending another day away from you to finish this book, and I don’t even know what the hell could ever become of it, yet I still choose to do this over anything else. I don’t know if I’m sorry, really, but I think I am? But I also know that I shouldn’t be apologetic for doing something that I love, and I know you feel the same way. Maybe I’m just apologetic that this is what I love to do, that this is how it is. Not that it’s good or bad, but that it would be more beneficial to my long-term relationship if I had a hobby that didn’t make me such an isolationist, but I don’t and I’m sorry that that’s just how it is.
I’m looking out the window again now, and I think I see someone running from the direction where all the men staggered off to. I think it might be one of the men, actually. He’s running towards the window as fast as he can. He doesn’t look like he’s running from anything, nor does he look like he’s running towards anything. His face is just flat and emotionless.
When he hit the window, it was easily loud enough for me to think the glass was going to break. The full force of his body hit, as hard as his person would allow, and he bounced back, then took a couple extra steps back and stood there staring at me. He was wearing baggy jeans and the shirt. It was blue, and had a teal and green vertical stripe of curvy, stylistic lines on the left side. His hair was black, normal for a man in the suburbs I guess. But then I noticed his eyes. They were black. Black, but not lifeless. No, they weren’t even black, they were swirling. His eyes were just empty, dark swirls, like two black holes engraved into his skull. His mouth was wide open, although his mind still seemed shut off. He kept staring at me.
I was staring into his swirling, black-hole eyes and he was staring back. I could feel something in my spine, as if his stare injected itself into my bloodstream and I was just now feeling its effects course through my veins. I couldn’t move, I couldn’t look away, I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t scream.
Abruptly, his neck twisted his head fiercely to the left, so he was looking back where he had come from. With his mouth still wide open, he let out a shriek. It was like nothing I’ve ever heard before. I thought his crashing into the window with his body would break the glass, but I was sure that this shriek would shatter it. It was high pitched and full of treble. It made me feel like my eyes were going to pop out of their sockets. It was also low, though, and I could feel a deep pressure on my back, like someone trying to push me over from behind. The shriek continued for what felt like minutes, but was more realistically thirty seconds or so. I dropped to the floor halfway through, I felt like my spine was going to snap. I took my glasses off and quickly cleared tears from my eyes and stood up. With my glasses on, I could see something at the end of my field of vision. It was something large and blue. It looked like a banner being pulled through a field. As it got closer, I saw that it was the men in blue and jeans. All of them. They were sprinting toward me, just like the first one had done.