Laura found a number in a filing folder and dialed it. ―Yes, hello? I’d like to place an order for… I’m sorry, this is an order for the lab of Richard Lattner. There should be a… Yes, that’s correct… No, this is Laura… Okay, that’s fine… An inoffensive and genreless clarinet played through the receiver for, according to the clock two minutes, but, in the windowless and 4G-barren basement, what seemed like an interval of disconcerting, if not sinister, length. ―Hi again… Okay, yes… Yes we have an account under… Right so… I’d like to place an order for a half dozen printer cartridges… Yes, a forty-three fifty model… It’s, um, hold on, let me just… Okay, wait, no it’ll be just a second I have the documentation right… The music resumed. ―Yes, I’m here… Yes, I’d like to place an order for a half dozen forty-two ex black toner cartridges… High yield… I’m sorry I don’t know the code number… No, it doesn’t say here anywhere, I’ve ordered before just this way, with the… No, but I just need the forty-two ex black… But it’s the same order we place every few months, I just… Listen, can you please place an order for the lab of Richard Lattner for a half doz… No, I am not trying to be rude, I know you are just… But listen, please don’t put me on… The music. She hung up.
She looked at the video of cells dividing. Outside, it was darker than she’d expected. Laura widened her eyes into the breeze, then squinted. Purple spread into the blue behind the white and opaque white of sky. Leaves fluttered on limbs, winking gray and brown out of shadow cover.
Students gathered. Their floral patterned dresses buttoned up to necks, and the bottom unzipped ends of hoodies exposed torn pockets beneath canvas jackets with corduroy collars. Flannel scarves fell to the feet of wanton smokers, onlookers, logoless baseball caps, appearing to wait for something, a sort of desperate lustful stare, shaking lighters and cupping hands. They coughed in the night. Messenger bags sagged around their backs, some toting bicycles, others sat on piles of textbooks looking into their phones. Most wore earbuds.
A pumpkin fell from a second story window. A campus security guard leaned against the gate, and Laura raised her hand in acknowledgement, ―Have a good night. A paper bag spotted with grease rolled on the sidewalk. A man played a saw on the subway platform and her transfer was late. Laura watched the dark concrete framing the front steps reflect against the lovely moon. Lovely, she thought, of it. Its color and place.
She’d watched it, she only then realized, from a window, never move in the sky, or perspective, as the train passed over the bridge. She unlocked the door and stepped into the hallway.