There is a heaviness in the air. No one knows where it came from or why it’s there, but it hangs like impending doom, as though something catastrophic is about to happen, yet never does.
So many seek escape; their heads down over nothing important, yet a distraction nonetheless. In this way, one can avoid feeling anything, anything at all.
As the family walks into the waiting room, the mother says to the 15-year-old son,
“Are you ok?”
The son self-consciously grunts,
The family sits down. The mother sits next to the son who has already placed in his earphones and leans forward over his iPhone; a seeming attempt to distance himself from the proximity of his mother and the awkwardness of the situation. The father takes a seat directly across from them and says in a jesting voice,
“Why don’t we all just sit here quietly and play with our phones.”
And the family does just that. All are in the same room, yet worlds apart.
The current issue of New York Magazine sits on the table. The cover story entitled… “Mom, I Love You. I Also Wish You Were Dead. And I Expect You Do, Too.” It is an account of the cruelty of aging.
Footsteps can be heard coming down the hall; the anticipatory anxiety is palpable. The family continues to look down at their respective device – or vice. The door opens and they are invited into a back room. Their reasons for needing to be there are unknown, but there is a subtle relief in knowing they have come this far.
New York Magazine continues to beckon from table, despite being mixed in with House Beautiful, Seventeen, and InStyle. The table has become the evening news with its stories of horror interlaced with Hollywood gossip and meaningless chatter.
The conflict plays out night after night in dreams. The bags are too small for all there is to carry and they get left on the train. Despite an attempt to retrieve them, they are just out of reach due to the density of the crowd. School is about to start tomorrow, yet the keys to the apartment haven’t been pick-up yet and the movers haven’t even been scheduled.
And then from nowhere she appears and asks,
“So, what do your children do?”
“I mean, what is their thing – you know, what team are they are on or what instrument are they studying? It’s so important for their college applications to have a thing” She clarified.
And then the warning,
"Don't forget that to be anybody in this town you must also always have a contractor's sign on your front lawn.”