The disappointment was overwhelming, like being thrown face-first into sand by the great oceanic surf. Beth’s eyes and throat burned so badly it wouldn’t have made much difference if she got a nose-full of saltwater at this point. She had not an ounce of energy left to combat the onslaught of tears.
Did everybody in the city live this way? Mechanically? Unconsciously?
All day, every day, Beth wandered from one receptacle to another. From their apartment, she glided along the sidewalk, down the concrete stairs, and into the subway car, which transported her to the claustrophobic elevator that took her to a cubicle.
Grey fabric walls, a computer, a phone, commotion. Constant commotion.
From her cubicle, she took occasional breaks to visit the peaceful place she now sat. The washroom stall in the corner—the one with the burnt-out light bulb—was Beth’s only refuge from the office politics and work-related insanities.
And yet today, seeing that tainted tissue, even the tranquil darkness couldn’t soothe her soul. Elbows planted on knees, she dropped her head into the cradle of her hands and wept until a pool of tears glistened against the dark marble floor.