Stepping out of the classroom into harsh metallic buzz of the outdated fluorescent lights, a slow deliberate movement was made, something practiced a few times, but dreamt of for a lifetime. A new pair of headphones was gently placed around a neck, and with those few movements, a new life would begin. A plan that wasn’t so much created, but destined was taking its first steps into genesis. A path would have to be forged through the middle of campus. To imagine was one, to believe was another, to do was the hardest still. A need to be seen, built in by years of voices, thoughts, and beliefs ingrained in not the heart and soul, but the very core of the being was about to manifest itself in a walk across campus. Those preformed, built in, lingering thoughts brought to life imagined walking across the world, but in this place, those first few steps would be crucial. Thoughts of the furthest building upon campus, registration and advising, somewhere, anywhere, but where no one would be heading at this time of year rose to the top. It would have to do. An individual does as they please, the crowds push against each other, and an individual pushes against themselves. Opening the door an effort was made to ensure to hold it just long enough to move through alone. The others would have to escape of their own free will. Plan set, the march towards destiny continued. Walking through the halls and courtyards, a realization that someone was walking behind took hold. Thick rubber slapping sounds of cheap sandals against the pavement perverted a destiny freshly manifest. Practically new rarely worn shoes sang a tune that reverberated against itself.

            A slight fear, a nervousness struck, a new problem had arisen to halt the world itself. How to enlighten the world to the holder of this new gadget, walking forward with a purpose unto itself, if someone was to notice, the universe would collapse. It would be silly, narcissistic, certainly whoever was behind would tell all, that here was a person who walked without purpose. That could never be. A decision was made, to stop and read a sign and see what fate had in store. Those brief moments when all the words on the sign mixed and melded and became one filled the air, clouded the sight, it was like holding Pandora’s box, and knowing what’s inside, but being unsure of how it came to be held. Cursed. A pox upon the unknowing fellow traveler. They would be known soon enough. The rubber kept slapping the floor, and suddenly made an appearance, but continued on, as though this was just another tick of the clock. It was a marvelous thing to see, here passes an enigma, but the bigger question was as to how it was able to exist at all with such tremendous effort behind every movement, yet somehow making it all look so graceful, like a seagull taking flight with a fresh crust of bread in its beak. Flesh bulged out of every crack that wasn’t covered in skintight clothing. Of all the people it could have been, it had to be the loudmouth, the one who always had something to say, a question and a statement with every word. Surely, surely to all hell, they would say here was someone who walked without purpose. A resolve to push on out of spite took hold. Turning back now would be catastrophic. Stopping in academic advising became a prerogative, a door was closed, but a bigger one would have to open. But then, to look the fool, asking about academics in the middle of the semester. Trapped, where could those tire treads be heading towards on this of all days? Of course they had to be watching, ready to report to the others, that here was an entity who acted without reason, sans purpose so to say. It would be imperative to concoct some manner of purpose in advising then, it was the only option, for there was no more reason to be there. Feeling the fool for wanting to show off means and class in this backwards society, regret itself had decided to lay upon these shoulders weary of moving on, but more so of stopping. Why of all days did the need arise to head in this direction, why was it today the hunger to show off to the crowds appeared. Cursed, the only option was to trudge onward, to own this decision. Loudmouth had seen, to continue was the only available decision, and sure enough, those inanimate objects had willed themselves to stop in academic advising. It was time to pay a visit to destiny, and all those who had seen the initial walk would be deprived of the return. Denied a chance to imagine themselves wearing those glimmering headphones, music blasting without a care in the world. Opening the door and forced out of the bright rays of the sun, the room was somehow inhabited by a few others, who may or may not have decided to take permanent residence there waiting for just such an occasion. Reaching up to move the headphones around, a thought sprouted, that they were now the only things that could be felt, the only part that was real. The cold touch of the gold plated metal on fingers, the softness of the leather ear piece, the in line microphone, and suddenly noticing it out of place, shifted it just a little bit to the left, for they had to sit perfectly in the middle, the wire had to hang just off to the side, carefree, just a little bit wild, but a sort of controlled disorder. Wondering, for just a moment, whether or not to begin to listening to music, but thought better of it, imagine if they would call our name and we failed to notice! Then, we would be the fool, not that loudmouth rubber slapper. Yet, surely in that failure, everyone would notice the gorgeous sublime design that adorned a neck, attached to a body, covered in a wardrobe that many would die in the desire to become. Slowly loosening the grip upon the wire, a small kink appeared in it, and with it a reminder to put a negative rating on the seller who claimed they were used, but like new.

            There were four people ahead of us in advising each more foolish then the last. We would have to curse our luck, only this could happen to us. But that would have to wait for another day. Loudmouth asked for advising, but as next in line there was a need to go one better, a junior still, yet, precocious enough to ask about the graduate programs. Always ahead, there was a need to be, it wasn’t a question. Upon speaking the words, all the chairs behind shifted a little, their inadequacies shown to them. Now if flip flops would talk, let the words be about a person so precocious as to be planning for masters already, let them all imagine the words of a future doctor. Taking a seat in the imitation leather seats, lush with all their cotton filling, and wishing we could have one at home, only to realize that leather was the only thing that could be sufficient for someone of status. The campus could be cheap with its students, but we couldn’t do that, only the best would do.

            Surely, once we had couches as soft as these, but only of the finest leather, we could invite all our friends, and friends we would make with these new headphones, because surely they all wanted to know how we had obtained them, and we would uncork that bottle of imported cabernet and tell them on those plush leather couches one day.

            Time passed slowly in advising, a sound arose in the room, of a behemoth, seemingly breathing its last, clad in exercise clothing that no one would believe were ever used, much less so those that had seen this behemoth at rest, it’s very life systems struggling to keep it alive. Slowly the others disappeared as their names were called. As the loudmouth passed through the doors to the advisor, we begin to resolve to walk towards the front desk to cancel our time slot. Yet, in that moment fate would kick in, it always did, as the words began to spill out, a name appeared on the monitor, next in line, and the advisor was already walking to the door. Heavy footprints bounding to the door, moving with purpose, with reason, singular or not, each step landed with an ominous thud.

            Now, how could we escape this place and walk back through the campus with those golden headphones upon our perfectly shaped ears, showing everyone that not only could we own, but put to good use this technology, that only the finest amongst them could hope to own?

            The door opened and a name was called.
Robert Hinojosa moved to the Rio Grande Valley in 2001. Prior to moving to the Valley he had spent his youth on various US Air Force military bases where his father served as a military law enforcement officer. Robert was born in Landstuhl, Germany where he made the first of many friends from different cultures. Robert had never considered a hometown until he moved to the Valley, and now calls it home. Robert is currently an education major at UTRGV.
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