I was sitting outside of advising the other day when this foreign exchange student walked in. He said his name was ____ and he sat down and shook the advisors hand. It’s a small room with two office chairs and a desk that has a monitor placed on top.

“Can we have your ID number?”

“We want to bring up your class schedule.”

He offers the numbers and they put them in. He’s nervous, he’s fidgeting.

_____ just moved here recently. They’re offering him support to get through his degree. I wonder where he moved from. He doesn’t say. I wonder where he grew up. He doesn’t say. I wonder where his mother and father are. I wonder what he ate for dinner when he was a kid. I wonder what he’s afraid of. I wonder what his favorite movie is. I wonder how long he’s been in school and I listen in to see how much longer he has left. He makes a second appointment. He leaves.

I come back next week and he’s there again. There’s no interesting story, it’s just a normal one I guess. He figures out his class schedule. He goes to class. But it makes me think about all of the people around me. They’re all thinking about the same things I am. They’re all doing the same things I am. We wake up and we eat breakfast and we go to class and we struggle with whatever little system we’re currently cycling around in. How many weeks ago did I have that same conversation? Was anyone listening in on me?

He’s wearing sneakers.

“Nice sneakers.” I said.

“Thanks.”

I’ll probably never see him again.

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