The Lit Class Discussion at the End of the World

“What did you all think of Adrian’s character?”
    There is a long silence, and then one of the two or three people who usually speak up finally says, “Sad. Ultimately, he was all alone.”
    “Yeah…”
    A soft orange beam reflects in a windowpane, and a rumbling sounds in the distance, like hunger. Maybe D.C. this time. Most of the other students look down at their desks, as if embarrassed. Another silence follows, the length of the time it takes for our collective mind to switch back from nuclear holocaust to the assignment at hand.
    If someone is weeping, perhaps in the corner, we ignore it.
    “Did you all like the book?” asks the instructor. The class murmurs a scattered but generally positive response. “What worked for you?”
    “I found the duality of it fascinating,” adds another frequent contributor. “The duality and the sense of hopelessness.”
    “Definitely duality,” I say. I have only read like 12 pages of the book; so far duality is the only theme I feel confident enough to latch on to. “Ironic duality.”
    “Yeah,” the instructor says again. “Alright, I want everyone to get back in their groups, and we’re gonna line up along the—”
    I notice the glass breaking before anything else.

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