It is midnight. As I finally bring myself to crack open my Spanish book and begin my homework, I turn my head and glance over my shoulder for a moment; indeed, Mariel's still reading. By this point, she's been reading for at least two hours, all for her honors class--at least, I surmised. I brush my hair repeatedly out of impulse, as I always do before I address anyone by name. The light is dim, and Vanessa has already gone to sleep. I haven't a clue where Meagan has gone.
I came to notice that whenever she is directly spoken to, she adopts an interestingly absentminded look; tonight, it is tinged with a hint of fatigue.
I stand up, my attention once again averted from my still-unfinished schoolwork. I stretch my legs a little before continuing. "What are you up to tonight?" I ask, my curiosity genuinely sparked, "Just homework?"
She laughs an exhausted laugh, sweet yet bitter. "Mm, yeah... unfortunately." She turns away from the screen of her laptop and her thick chemistry book, and her eyes have now met mine.
"Is it just a lot of reading, or... ?"
"Mmm, pretty much." She chuckles again. "It takes a while for me to soak it all in, so I study for longer periods of time."
It is two in the morning. My nightly adventure into the realm of the Spanish language nearly complete, I turn to Mariel again. She has remained immotile since the last time we exchanged words, and I begin to feel empathy for her, if not a little concerned. Fifteen minutes later, I examine her workspace and notice that she has already slipped into a deep slumber, her laptop open and dormant, resting cozily on her belly. Certainly she does not realize that she has, in fact, lapsed into sleep; I immediately shut the light off upon this discovery, and proceed with my own endeavors.
--to be continued