Black Ribbons

White. A single wooden side table held a heavily used coffee maker, and a few pamphlets. The only things on the wall to break up this ocean of white: a red plastic clock and a pastel work of wild flowers framed in a dull gold

At the front desk, unaware or uncaring about my presence, a slumped young redhead played on the computer laughing to herself.

I was at least hoping for a place to sit. 

I set my bass down at my feet. Checked my phone for a text. 

the driver: 20 mins

Maybe I should go back to my room... Is that enough time for a nap? For a good moment, I was in another zone. Waiting. Looking at the clock on my phone trying to decide what I should do.

When her voice cut through the quiet-empty, "you in a band?" The desk girl was pointing down at my case.


"I was in a band for a bit," she shrugged, "guitar... We fought a lot... Didn't like it."

"I...ugh, well" I hadn't really expected her to say that and it left me stuttering awkwardly, "it can be tough sometimes I guess."

"Tell me," she said. And leaned deep over the counter pulling out a pair of scissors from behind the monitor. She kept her eyes on me. Reaching under her desk, and pulling out a spool of black ribbon.

I laughed, "tell you what?"

She held the spool between her legs, and opened out a piece about the size of a forearm and snipped, "how tough is it for you?"

"It can be like any job I guess," I started.

She raised her eyebrows. Pulled out another piece. 


"There are bad days."

Pull. Snip.

"But I wouldn't..."


"What are you doing?"


She smiled, "Just a project I'm working on. Go on."

"I can't really imagine doing anything else," I finished. 

Watching her continue to cut the ribbons. And lay the strips of black across her desk. One after another. 

One a little shorter. The next longer.

She told me about her band. About how she was always butting heads with the drummer. And how she thought it was all connected to some incident involving Tiffany from Middle School that neither was supposed to talk to, and a back seat of the mini-van. And though it never got heated and they never fought, the practices became fewer and fewer. Their chemistry was colder. 

And one day,

"...she just didn't call anymore. And that was it. Like I still see her," she put down the scissors on to her pile of black ribbons, and stared me straight in the eyes, "we even saw a movie together not too long ago but... we don't even talk about it. The band I mean. Just... it was done."

the driver: hit traffic. another 20 mins.

"Tough," and wondering if there was still time for a nap.

to be cont.


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