An electric buzz of the vending machine. The gentle tap of water leaking from a pipe above. Not knowing if the footsteps drifting away are what I should be terrified of.
Because it’s overwhelming, I count. Throwing in the Mississippi in between like Mom taught me. I count slower when I hit fifty, then even slower when I hit two hundred. I start again at zero, pretending that his absence during the first three hundred seconds doesn’t matter.