All That Floats

Devanand Simon was twenty-five years old when the bodies fell from the sky. But that was weeks away. For now, he stood in the shade of the Beaumont Pavilion’s flattop awning, a few undergrads sitting on the Pavilion’s steps nearby, chatting, smoking, and talking among themselves. Devanand held a lit Camel between his fingers, its smoke floating back toward the math department. He took a puff and exhaled. His eyes followed the undergraduates as they got up and cut across the Brookings Quad, all moving as if their backpacks were burdened with extra weight, their shoulders slouched and their hips lacking any sway. All along the campus’s pathways the delicate pink-and-white cups of tulips stood open to breathe in the cool air, but blooming tulips could only mean one thing: the end of the academic year and the trials of final exams.

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