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Awaiting Echoes

You know when you keep saying you'll write something but keep postponing it, and then you're afraid you won't be able to capture the intensity of the emotions you felt back then? That’s how I feel now. I glance at my sneakers, regretting not investing in a new pair before today. On their maiden journey, the laces fray at the edges, taunting my lack of foresight.

Protagonist introspects, regrets not buying new shoes, unsure about capturing emotions.

The hour on my phone is stubborn, unmoving. To distract myself, I open Candy Crush, a game that usually helps me zone out. But today, it only fuels my impatience, each swipe and pop a mocking reminder of time's crawl.

Protagonist plays Candy Crush, reflects on the slow passage of time.

I pull open WhatsApp, thumb hovering over the chat list, and then dispatch an emoji into the virtual ether. I’m hoping it’s like a flare in the night sky, a sign that my phone is still a tether to her, that she'll write back when she's ready.

Protagonist sends an emoji on WhatsApp, seeking connection.

My screen's defiance against autolock is a silent rebellion I’m willing to endure. 'Why don't you let your phone sleep?' They'll ask. Because right now, every decision, even the trivial, feels like a delicate thread in the web of my anxieties.

Protagonist reflects on leaving phone on, linking action to current anxiety.

I lift my eyes, scanning the crowd. It's a habit, people-watching—finding stories in the hum of the throng. There's a man, no luggage in tow, head on a swivel. He gives off the air of someone also adrift in the wait, someone caught betwixt arrival and departure.

Protagonist observes people, spots a man also waiting.

As I eye the man, I notice how his gaze softens when children laugh, how his shoulders ease at the sight of a jovial family reunion. There's empathy there—in the tilt of his head, the patience in his posture, though the term never escapes into our shared silence.

Protagonist recognizes empathy in man's reactions to surroundings.

The subsequent pages continue the protagonist's journey of anticipation, self-reflection, and observation, delving deeper into the emotions present in the waiting, and the connections that form silently between strangers amid shared experiences.

Continuation of introspection, growing connection with observed man.

Reflection Questions

  • How do you think the protagonist feels about the wait, and what do you believe it symbolizes in their life?
  • What does the man's behavior tell us about his character, and why do you think the protagonist is drawn to observing him?
  • Can empathy be truly understood or felt through silent observation, and in what ways does this story suggest it can be seen?

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