A Brief Moment in Time

The Paris skyline shined brighter that night. Maybe it was the 2nd glass of the cheapest rose we could find, maybe it was the perfectly timed sparkle of the Eiffel tower reflecting on the buildings in sight from my balcony. I laid back in my chair, put my feet on the railing, loosely gripping the thin stem of my wine glass and listened to the sounds of the Paris nightlife. My roommate Anis, sat on the floor next to me and leaned her head into the night. The stars were covered by clouds but still, I could feel them shining light upon the dimly lit streets below us. A woman lit a cigarette and it seemed to awaken something within Anis as her own hand seemed to drift to her sweatshirt pocket by its own accord, pulling out a thin, messily rolled cigarette and brought it to her mouth. She put her hand back into her pocket, but it came out empty, so I reached into my own and pulled out a light pink lighter and lit it myself as she breathed in. She offered me one, but I don't smoke so I shook my head and she went back to synchronizing her breaths to that of the woman on the street beneath us. Soon enough this woman was gone and our focus was on a man standing by the bus stop. I looked to my phone for the time, frowned, and hoped the man wasn't hoping for a ride. The buses were long parked and the metro now full of the homeless in chrysalis, trying to escape the harsh reality of night. Anis gave me the look, the one you give when you've had a bit too much wine and you've decided that you're going to be a dumb college student for a moment, when you want to let everything go and ignore the fact that it's 3 am on a Wednesday night, ignore the 9 am calculus class you have in the morning, ignore the four missed facetime calls from your parents that you only ignored because your phone is already on low battery and you did have some wine so you weren't sure if any of your sentences that came out were even coherent anymore and because you decided you would text them in the morning that you were tired and wanted a good night's rest before your calc test the next morning. Anis's eyes lit up as she opened her mouth as wide as she could. “Yoohoo!” she laughed, as we do on nights like this, shouting into the great expanse hoping that someone may answer us back. I followed suit, we let our laughter die, and we waited. We waited for something, for anything to shout back and remind us we are not alone. We waited for the stars to come out form the curtain of clouds and put on for us a show. We waited for random historical figures of the 1920s to come out of the shadows like they did in that Owen Wilson movie. We waited… and waited… and waited… and waited for what could have been months days, minutes, mere seconds until the sound of the balcony door opening took us out of our trance. “Hey could one of you guys give me light, I think I left my lighter at school,” my other roommate Rebecca asked, leaning her forearms on the railings. My eyes losing their fog looked up to her blankly, handed her my lighter, and went back to look at the guy by the bus stop. But, just as quickly as our voices faded into the atmosphere, he was gone.

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Michael Kelso

Author of Crime/Mystery novels, and short hor...

Schellsburg, United States