The Empty – Entry 4
Toner… Anthony… he’s the reason I keep this ridiculous journal. Sentimental nonsense, I know. But since the 8th advance the whole world has gone senseless, why rock the boat.
It was the first day of the semester, my final year and his first year. I saw him from across the campus field. He was busy reviewing notes on his holo. His path was a collisions course, so I just stood there until he nearly walked in to me. His holo display warped around my face. The photons gave a slight tingling as they bounced off my cheeks. He gasped. In fairness I suppose a cute girl is the last thing one would expect to have erupt from the “The Political History of the North American Super Nation”. He took the cue pretty well. We had coffee that evening.
Toner had a full scholarship for journalism. School was really just a formality for him, something his parents wanted him to do. He didn’t mind; his first short story was published when he was 8. He already had 3 books on the top 50 list and he was regularly featured in several syndicated monthly publications. He could have gone anywhere and done anything. Instead he sipped lattes with me at Ariah’s Cafe every afternoon that year. That’s how I ended up journaling. He gave a convincing argument for why I should. And by “convincing argument” I mean those forest-in-the-fall hued eyes had a way of making you say yes just by looking at them. I tried not to look at them often.
Immediately after graduation SphereSafe Logistics recruited me for their Special Robotics division and sent me to the edge of the Empty. Toner came to visit befor his 2nd year started. We played it safe as usual. Coy. Dodging the overtones. It was a safe harmony. I never saw him in person after that trip. The 7th advance made sure of that. We never reached a crescendo.
– Jasmin Tzotsof, 8th advance survivor