Equipped with coffee, water, and a half-eaten bag of pretzels, she’s here for the long haul. The only sounds to be heard in this very first corner of Bapst, hidden by tall bookshelves, are her long bell sleeves rustling over the papers that are sprawled out across the desk as she types. Her floral blouse is timeless but doesn’t quite match the “athleisure” uniform of comfort that most other students in the library embody. She takes a break to haphazardly pull her unruly blonde hair into a messy bun, and continues to feverishly type. Then—da dum—her computer emits an “update” noise. It’s a noise so lonely and loud in the cavernous library that it echoes, and would send any somewhat self-conscious person into a frenzy of hitting their “mute” button aggressively with shame. However, she’s different. She’s unfazed, in a hypnotic state where it’s just her and the keyboard. Minutes later, she leans back in her seat and gazes up at the tall shelves in front of her, pulling her curly hair out of its bun.
He picks a table in the far corner of the empty patio, nestling in with his back to the bar, looking out onto Bogota’s bustling Park 93. It’s an unusually overcast Colombian afternoon, yet his sunglasses still rest loosely on his gaunt face, brushed lightly by his well-coiffed black hair. The waiter brings two light, foamy beers to the table, but he doesn’t seem to notice. He fidgets with the zipper on his black sweatshirt as he surveys the sidewalk full of passersby. After a few moments, his thin frame quietly rises from his chair. He saunters to the edge of the patio and pulls out a cigarette, all the while keeping his gaze on the sidewalk and the park. A few long, slow drags later, his visage changes. A similarly slim, skinny-jean clad boy strides up the ramp to the patio, and the two hug each other quickly. They both take one last glance toward the park before heading back to their patiently waiting drinks.
An important conversation is happening on the third story balcony of the brick apartment building. Clad in a black business suit with just a hint of the purple tie underneath, a man in his mid-30s furrows his brow as he rambles Spanish into his cellphone. He pauses a few moments and nods feverishly, the caramel skin on top of his bald head gleaming against the rainy afternoon. He begins to talk with his free hand, pointing his fingers every which way as if the person on the other end is able to see him. After another brief pause, he begins pacing the deck, looking down at his shoes as he listens. He is restless, cycling between fidgeting with his suit jacket, leaning against the railing, and walking back and forth on the balcony. Resting the phone in between his shoulder and his cheek, he opens sliding glass door and motions to someone inside. A few moments later, a woman dressed in a white maid uniform appears with a glass of water and a coaster. The man takes it and briskly turns away, taking a large gulp and putting the coaster down on the patio table. After a second gulp, he puts the water down and places his free hand on his hip. With a firm stance, he faces the city, as if he’s practicing a power pose to give him a façade of confidence. He is silent for a few moments, and the look on his face withers. He slowly sinks into the railing, looking down at the street below in disappointment.