The Kid Rocking His Chair

The library is quiet
Late evening
A little after 8pm

But then two tables behind me
A young teen maybe sixteen
Starts rocking his wooden chair
Back and forth
Back and forth
Tap on the floor
And creak some more

The rocking manifests a nervous energy
I feel so on edge
Like something’s wrong behind me
The feeling that somebody’s sneaking up behind me

I look back
He’s still just rocking, nothing more
I turn around
I still feel nervous
Maybe now he’s scheming something
I look back
No, he’s still just rocking
I turn around
But the nervous feelings never cease

There is some sort of primal instinct
A conditioned response from my reptilian brainstem
That is uncomfortable by such sounds behind me
Conditioned to interpret foul play
Or suspicious intentions
It processes the sounds as coming from some predator
Sneaking up behind me in the jungle of life

I want to tell the little bastard to stop rocking his chair
But he eventually does so without me saying anything
Not only does he stop
But he packs up his studying materials
And he leaves


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