Number 2 Pencil
The proctor whispered something
into Lindsey’s ear.
She made an odd motion
—half nod, half shake of the head—
and gripped her number 2 pencil.
As soon as the proctor wandered away
to discipline some kids who were passing notes,
Lindsey slumped back down.
The pencil slipped from her hand,
rolled along the length of the table,
and fell to the floor.
From across the room,
Gary caught my eye
and smiled—the one expression
that could make me forget about everything
in the world that was bothering me.
I continued writing
my hastily conceived thesis
and waited for the test to end.