A MacBook lights up the face of a girl with well-defined cheekbones. Her thin fingers dance over the keyboard. As her long nails strike a key, an audible and satisfying tap reaches my ears. I have to wonder if her ears are tuned into the sounds whirling around her. An older woman finishes her meal, dropping a piece of metal to reach for a napkin. The clang of her fork meets an empty plate save for crumbs. In my peripheral vision, I see a black blur. The legs of a chair scrape against the floor as a heavyset man moves to sit down.
Across from where I’m sitting is another teenager with a fading tan. His tablet is off to the side. Sheets of paper sprawl in front of him. It seems as though both are vying for space on the square surface. The tablet stays on, notifications fighting to catch his eye. The dark pencil marks on the white paper jump off each page. He alternates between both mediums, his eyes flitting up and left at the screen, then down and right at the sheets. The boy keeps this rhythm going as if his body has been attuned to music only he can hear.
Further away, another student is plugged into his laptop via earphones. He’s disconnected from the world around him and immersed in another. I only catch a fleeting glimpse as I pass by. A video is streaming, scenes whizzing by. Something only he can see elicits a grin from him. The corners of his dark eyes crinkle into half moons. His teeth remind me of clouds on a clear day. I wonder what he’s watching, but he is so absorbed in the fabricated world playing out in front of him that I avoid asking.