(Note: the story is not part of the puzzle)
The invigorating rays of sunlight streamed through the train carriage windows, showering Jared’s face and filling him with the warmth and the energy to take on yet another day of medical school shenanigans. The rhythmic clack-clack of wheel on track could be felt but not heard, drowned out by the blaring of hip-hop through his wireless headphones.
>> 1 unread message.
Morning big fella!
Jared smiled. This would be about the game last night, he thought. As he motioned to tap out a response, another message soon followed suit:
I was just wondering if you’d managed to finish the anatomy lectures for Neuroscience block and if you wanted to revise them together?
Wait, didn’t you go watch the game last night?
Nah I had to study.
Study. Study? Study!? There it was again, like a fever dream that had never quite ended, blurring the line between the surreal and the unreal.
But isn’t like Neuroscience in three blocks’ time though? Surely that’s an issue for, y’know, three blocks’ time!?
I feel like I’ll fall behind if I don’t stay ahead.
Jared audibly recoiled in disgust. Shaking his head, he typed:
So... no game then?
No, and not for a while. I feel like I’ll need to study heaps more to keep up with everyone else. There’s this TikTok channel that gives great medical study advice and it reckons I should...
There it was again. Upset, Jared stopped reading, locked his phone, and slipped it into his back pocket.
Out of sight and out of mind.
Overcome with rage, frustration, irritation, disappointment, and every emotion in between, Jared slumped in his seat and sulked in his little corner, with the soles of his shoes propped up perilously close to the cushion of the seat opposite. The metronomic clack-clack of wheel on track that had once been so soothing, so comfortable — so familiar, even — was swiftly drowned out by the worried palpitations of his mournful heart, with each beat more forceful than the last.
(To be continued...)