The Things We Do

Ezra Azra

Copyright 2022 by Ezra Azra
Photo by Dev Asangbam on Unsplash
Photo by Dev Asangbam on Unsplash

This account was related, more or less, to me by the husband himself.

Vivka was sitting on a sofa in the Student Common Room, in Marion Building.

Rogers walked in. "Hey, Vivka." "Hi, Rogers." "You have a class this late?" "Uh-huh. Just this one time, in a few minutes." "I am here for a Student Representative Council meeting. We picked this late hour because we did not want to meet where there were classes. Our meetings can get noisy." "I know. I attended a few. Senior students so quickly turn into obnoxious pre-pubescent brats."

The lights in the building went out. "Whoa! What is this?" "It means I will not be having a class. I can leave the building."

A prolonged commotion including shouting was heard coming from somewhere in the building.

"That sounds like problems on the stairs." They listened in silence for a few seconds. "You have a light on you?" "No. I don't smoke. Better wait until the lights come on before you try going down those 50-odd stairs. They are pretty steep. The SRC advised the University to not rent this building because it was built for commercial enterprise; not for university undergraduate mentality use."

They waited in silence. "Rogers, perhaps you should call out to anyone else in the building?" "Good idea." He called out aloud, "Hello? Everybody in the dark in the building. We are here in the Student Common Room, second floor. Call out if you are here."

Vivka whispered to him. "Tell them to bring a light, if they have one. We are desperate here." He whispered back to her, "Okay."

He called out loudly again. "And bring us a light, please. We are about to panic here in the dark." They waited in silence for a few seconds.

He said, "Looks like we are all alone, kiddo. In the dark. You feel safe being here alone with me?" "Why not, since I am wearing army boots." "Of course. Army boots are a classic turn off, even in daylight." He sniggered; she remained silent.

"Say hi for me to Dell." "Come home sometime and say hi to him yourself. You haven't visited in a while. Last time was with Rahbya."

A phone rang. Vivka blurted out. "That's you, Rogers. I do not have a phone." Rogers answered his cell. "Yes? Fern! Where are you? I am here in Marion. Student Common Room. Really? The lights are out in the building. Come get me. Come with a flashlight. Okay." He put his phone into his pocket, as he spoke to Vivka.

"Fern's coming to fetch me. I got the place wrong. The SRC meeting is in City Building across the road. Not here. She is coming up with a light. Come down with us, Vivka." "That is your Fern?" "Yep. That is my Fern." "And she is going to see me with you in the dark?"

"Oh, come, now, Vivka." "Rogers, you and Rahbya just broke up because of Fern. I think it is best if you go with Fern without me. In fact, go meet her halfway down. I do not want her to see me. It will not help my friendship with Rahbya if she finds out I was with you and Fern."

"Vivka, I am glad it is dark. I cannot see the expression on your face. Rahbya used to tell me what good friends she is with you. It must hurt you that she is so unhappy. But, Vivka, let me say this to you. It was over between Rahbya and me for months before Fern came into my life." "Rahbya told me that. But she is still not over you, Rogers. I asked her to not give me details of your break-up. I am still friends with both of you." There was a short silence.

"How long will you stay here by yourself?" "Until the lights come back on." "Okay. If Fern and I see students waiting downstairs, I will tell them you are up here." "Thanks, Rogers. Is there no chance of you and Rahbya getting together again?"

"There is every chance, Vivka. I have kept this between Fern and me, at a light level. It has been months, but what happened or did not happen between Rahbya and me is still up to Rahbya. I am waiting. I do not know how long I will wait. But, please, Vivka, do not tell Rahbya I am waiting. She has to make up her mind all by herself. Okay?" She replied him, softly, in pain, "Okay."

She heard him leave. A few seconds later she heard him conversing in the dark with a woman. "Rogers!" "Yes, love. I'm here!" "Okay. I'm coming up. I have my cigarette lighter. Watch for it." "Good. I can see some of it already. Coming down."

All sounds faded away. Vivka sat in the dark in silence for a few seconds. There was a sound at the door. She spoke almost at a whisper, "Dell?"

He replied, "Yes. You want light? I have my lighter." "You said you gave up smoking?" "I have. This is an old friend I keep around just until all the fluid has burned out. Are you not glad I still have it on me?"

"All right. Keep it handy, but do not light it just yet." "I heard you tell him you have classes here." "I had to say that. There are no classes in this building this late. Remember? I told you." "So, we can still go up to the roof garden?"

"Not while there is a problem with the lights. Somebody could show up at any minute to check. And the roof garden is where all the generators are. Let us just go home." "I was wondering why you were taking so long. There are no lights up there, and so I was not aware the lights were out down here. Your sister is expecting us after ten o'clock. After classes."

"I'll think up a reason. Light the lighter, and hope it does not run out of fuel. We have about fifty steps to go down." "Yeah, bad enough when there is light. In this dark, they will be malicious and wicked, and seem like hundreds.

He lit the lighter. They moved to the stairway. He mumbled, "The things we do to make us time-alone from the children."

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