They are all staring into screens. Some of the stares appear glazed, others seem to be staring at nothing in particular. Others have eyes that show they are no longer in the present. Eyes are scanning the room, looking and taking everything else in except for what is on the screen. There are those whose eyes don’t move from where they are, engrossed in what is before them on the screen.
Students are slouched in their chairs, not wanting to be in the place that they are but are there because of their obligation to themselves, and their parents, to do well in class. There are tables with students scattered here and there, a few tapping their pencils on the wood, hand stuck in their hair, eyes staring at the paper, willing it to make sense or for the answer to appear. There are those who are so relaxed. They sip their Starbucks coffee or herbal tea, leaning back in the chairs, not stressed about deadlines or due dates. Their Mac laptops covered in different patterns and colored cases form a barrier between those who are pulling strands of hair from their scalps, eyes bloodshot from being in the same seat since early that morning.
The silence that was universally expected kept getting interrupted by the hard press of fingers and nails on the keyboards. The fast, then slow, abrupt pauses in the typing. The squeaking noise of the mouse, directing them to a new page, dragging picture and files across the screens. There is quiet chatter in several places. A couple look over their laptops to discuss a going to see a movie that weekend. A group of boys are speaking in a language that I can’t identify but their soccer club jerseys and the game that is playing on one of the bigger computer games tell me that they are discussing a recent call that was made in the game, causing to speak in heated hushed voices at the screen. Girls with the same Greek letters displayed on their chest twitter about the social they will be having and the cute boys that will be there. They flip their hair, blush at the male names that are mentioned, grin excitedly, their eyes bright and leaning close to one another to hear all that is being said at once.
I see all of this as I walk from the spot in the corner where a lone love seat sits with a small coffee table in front of it. It hides behind the circular café whose back wall has computer screens that have been staring at me and swiveling chairs that beckon me to come and take a spin, to put that dust filled book down and have some real fun with them.
I ignore the call and watch the people, the students that are glued to their computer chairs, staring at the screens, their papers as if doing it will get them out of the chair faster. I take my book to the counter and give it to the girl who is smiling across from, a laptop in front of her. She takes me book and says, “Checking out?” as she scans my book.
I smile and reply with a yes, taking my book and leaving the library.