Derek crossed out of the boulevard and onto the quads side walk, waiting until his group was obscured by the park vegetation.
“-ill doesn’t seem well thought out. Why don’t you come down to my level an-"
The headphones were jerked out of his ears. Derek whirled, dazed, to find a stout small man holding them, Derek was amazed he hadn’t noticed him.
“Excuse me?” Derek approached still confounded, “those are mine.”
The old man wasn’t listening. He shook the headphones clenched in his grip, “disrespectful things,” he mumbled, grimacing in disgust.
Derek stared, dumbfounded. Late sixties probably, appearance suggests Southeast African, Swahili maybe?
He was hunched over, about 5 and a half feet tall. The man shuffled toward, dreadlocks bouncing, until he was deep in Derek’s personal space.
“Here!” he barked, slapping his palm against Derek, pressing the headphones against his chest shakily.
Baffled, Derek twisted away from the old man, the headphones clutched in his grip. The man hollered from behind him, “This school was considered prestigious, you know?! And now they let anyone in it seems!”
◊ ◊ ◊
Sunlight. Beating, it broke gently through each leaf arranged like a wind pressed sea of scales. With every stroke against the branches, the tree tops flowed. A fluid mosaic. Mesmerizing.
She gazed at the canopy above her, letting the intense simplicity of light and color fill her with a calm. Finally the noise around her fell away, the drones and buzzing chatter faded out.
Delighted, she exhaled exaggeratedly. Humming, the air pushing out her nose lulled he-
“Hey, what are you doing?!”
Tori opened her eyes.