Wait Hang On One Second

A gentle sound, a murmuring, a wooden bowl of voices rolling around like marbles, never loud, never harsh, never letting up. An aberration, he thinks, sure to fade, but it does not fade, does not turn into background noise like a creek’s chuckle, because in the sound he hears, at irregular intervals, and only half-certain, his own name—two syllables, a certain rhythm, familiar trochee.

What were they saying about him, or to him. What was he missing: he was looking at the soaps on a shelf in a grocery store, trying to remember the one he liked, when his name floated through him as if called out, an intonation that made clear his engagement was expected, but he’d missed what came before and couldn’t understand—try as he might, looking now at the floor, his hands on his ears, standing perfectly still—what was being asked of him.

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