Joey Cifelli ’23
March 4, 2022
I am sitting in my room. It’s nighttime. I am curled up in my wooden chair and looking out the window. There aren’t any stars tonight. My outline looks back at me in the window. The edges are there, the outer rims of hair and skin, fading away toward the center. They fall into a black sky where my face should be. I lean back and the wood groans with the sound of a rusted swing set. The noises downstairs quiet down. No more metallic resonance or clinking of glass. My roommate, my cohabitator, must have seen the guests off. A radio, which was playing fluffy jazz, is switched off. My roommate, my housemate, pours himself a glass of red wine. He’ll be coming up now. 6.7/10
March 5, 2022, Part 1
Yes, there are the footfalls on top of the stairs. His steps stir up puffs of dust on the carpet covering the wood staircase. The sounds of fluffing a pillow. A sharp knock on the door to my room. “Come in,” I say. My roommate comes into my room gripping his glass of red wine. The peripheral joints of his fingertips tap the glass. He places it on my bedside table and falls onto the bed with a rush of air. He stretched his limbs gracefully and methodically, like a cat. “The party?” I ask.
“Done,” he says, his voice strained. “There were only four of us tonight. Patty was there with her boyfriend Jim. There was Jonathan, who you know from Catherine’s dinner last month. We spoke about his work fabricating cybernetics or something. Jim invited him, obviously, so that he’d have someone to talk to. And then there was me. I made four.” 9.5/10
March 5, 2022, Part 2
“Did you have a good time?” I ask.
“You know, I can’t tell. Some parts were enjoyable and others were scum. I have a mix of feelings, so I can’t say.”
“Have you taken net sums into account?” I ask. “It’s very likely there’s an imbalance between your net positive and net negative emotions, even if they’re dispersed.” Al, my roommate, is now finished with his stretching and flops onto his back, hands resting behind his head.
“My instinct is to say they all cancel each other out perfectly. Ergo, I am net neutral,” he says.
“Seems unlikely,” I say.
“In which case, if time passed and I began and ended in the same state of mind, it’s as if I skipped the period altogether. I traveled through time.” 8.7/10
March 5, 2022, Part 3 (Pictured)
Al turns over to face me, smiling. “But you know me, Kim. Tell me, did I enjoy myself?” The answer is obvious. Al invited people he doesn’t like to a party he didn’t want to host. Why, if not for the pleasure of the thing itself? Plus, it’s enough to look. His skin is radiant. His smile a timeless curve. His hand bent on his hip. It’s easy to tell with Al.
“Yeah,” I say.
“Yeah,” he replies, turning back over. His eyeballs stare at the stucco ceiling. My wall clock ticks. I imagine that that’s the sound of crickets assembled out of wood and brass. I glance at the window. My reflection meets my eyes with an empty hole. I wonder what he’s thinking about. 8.6/10