Lambda

His headphones were in and his playlist was filling his cranium with auditory vitriol. Unread textbooks flanked his laptop. He had been in the university library all afternoon but there was very little evidence of this on the glowing screen in front of him. In fact, he hadn’t touched the keyboard at all in the last half hour. His thesis was getting him down. With every page he wrote, he felt more unsure of his premise. It was nonsense. All of it. He felt flat, burnt out. Why had he decided to study philosophy anyway?

He took out his headphones and leant back slightly in his chair. He stared at the frosted perspex which lined the back of the library workstations. The translucent nature of the barrier at least made the workstation feel slightly less like a prison cell. Only slightly.

A pair of anonymous shadows wandered past on the other side of the perspex. Then another pair of shadows projected themselves onto this fuzzy screen and stopped. The outline of an arm appeared as the body seemed to move closer towards the perspex. Then the outline of a hand. A girl’s hand, he thought. It pressed flat against the cell wall and a startlingly clear silhouette came into focus. He stared at the hand as it clenched and relaxed. He felt a dull stirring within him, a forgotten fire, a passion for pure expression and meaning. The shape of the arm and the hand reminded him of a Greek lambda. The language of Plato.

Of course, he hadn’t decided to study philosophy himself. His parents had decided that for him. They had always thought he was a thinker, a philosophical ponderer. They loved the idea of their son gaining a doctorate. It would be the perfect tidbit to sprinkle into conversations at parties when they wanted to impress acquaintances whom they loathed. The language of pretentious socialites.

By now, the hand had evaporated into the haze. He put his headphones back in, dropped his gaze toward the laptop screen and rested his wrists on the edge of the desk. He was poised and ready to start a new page. Tomorrow would be different, he told himself. Tomorrow he would focus. Tomorrow he would rage.