The class room was standard fair that was amplified by the bored faces and bodies hibernating through the season of a dry lecture.
The voice born to lullaby them came from a man without the inclination to reign his pupils in no matter what eyelids were covering them, and as such his speech persisted on whether he saw a student eating, a phone commanding another’s attention, a head down catching up on the sleep they traded for arriving on time, or even the student near the back with their headphones in.
It was the one near the back, earbuds in and yet still sharing his music with those within earshot, who was managing to attract the attention of someone with his transmission of sound waves like an S.O.S. It was her though, transmission coming loud and clear, that sought saving. She first hoped that he would turn it down after a particular song, and then when that hurdled was clumsily run through she begun hoping someone else who notice and say something. Several of those hurdles were run through like it was elementary school track-and-field, and so she begun to look around at those close to her in hopes of meeting the attention of someone else who was only an ally away from acting.
Still, nothing. The beat of the music mixed and corrupted the lesson like black paint mixed spitefully in with the perfect shade of yellow. She tried to build herself enough of a platform to reach over and ask them to turn the music down, however the butterflies in her stomach drew in moths that ate the fabric of the platform down. She was beginning to resign herself to the situation and theorizing the best course of action. Every seat in the room was occupied even though little attention was being paid the ones in them and every attempt at making the circuit run smoothly failed due to the unwelcome sound breaking her connection. It left her unable to improve the situation or accept it as is.
She looked at the ear buds and wished, more than anything, that she could just rip them out. She pictured it and felt the simulated joy it would bring to her with such authenticity that it looped in her head over and over again. She even raised a hand and pretended to pull on them in a manner which, had any of them been paying attention, would have looked silly to anyone nearby. Right after she did so the slouched Captain Hook to her Peter Pan raised the hook he wasn’t resting on and fixed his earbud. Amused, she did so again. And then….he fixed it again?!
She paused for a moment as her heart did the opposite and soon found the blood in her ears to be almost as loud as the music in his. She then pulled another time and triggered him sitting up straight and pushing the earbud in with noticeable frustration. In silent malice of cartoonish delight, she took pleasure in her ploy and was now ready with the frustration of a half a lectures worth of missed information behind her like an army ready for the final charge.
She knew the extensive collection of three songs he had on repeat, and during one in particular he always lowered the volume (how many times her hopes had soared that it would stay down) only to turn it back up for effect. It was almost admirable enough to grant him some small degree of forgiveness that he repeated this through his outward apathy and spaciness, but his crimes had earned him this sentencing.
The volume lowered like happy feet on a trampoline before she yanked the springs out from the anticipated bounce and his headphone fell out of his ear. He yanked the remaining earbud out of his ear and stuffed them aggressively in to his pocket and pushed his chair back with his standing legs, swung his bag over his shoulder, and exited the class with his burning frustration: hot and justified without any idea of what had occurred.
Light as the air filling the desk in front of her, she happily begun taking notes of the monotonous half, whole, and quarters glacially making their way to her with a smile on her face that would have confused, had any of them been paying attention, those around her. It was a smile that she thought would never falter…
Until the girl next to her started snoring.