In the waiting room of the french visa office

by Eman

Waiting. Waiting. A small room filled to capacity. You exhale, someone inhales.  Your knee inevitably rubs against someone’s back or leg or thigh. Your arms touch, short hairs entangling, dancing, and then… nothing but air and awkwardness. A musky perfume of morning breath, B.O. and cigarettes lingers above you. The flickering flourescent light above times the milliseconds since you’ve been sitting on these aluminum chairs with the holes on the bottom. Your bottom oozes into those holes, they impress themselves into your flesh. You, the chairs, the flickering lights, the sweaty arms – you are all the same organism. Pulsing, oozing, lactating together. Meanwhile your ears are pricked for the four syllables that make up your name. The vellus hairs inside your ear canal shiver in anticipation. The sweetest sound on earth! A pied piper’s tune that will cause you to fling yourself right out of that chair and forcefully excise yourself from that revolting organism you’ve become attached to.

But your name is trapped in the mouth of a woman in a pantsuit and a frown, and the milliseconds draw a long line of wasted time. Like a pencil being dragged across an infinite strip of paper, the graphite cracks and the flecks blind you. An hour. Two hours. Will it ever end? You hear numbers being called but none of them are like the one you grip in your hands. Your number.

Yours.

You?

Me?

Who am I?

I am B31.

I am no one.

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