The Spaces Between Your Fingers

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I interviewed Ben* over the phone. He had completely forgotten this ever happened until we started talking, and I could hear the amazement in his voice as he started remembering the little details of this story. It takes place during Ben's third year of med school. As the president of the student body, he was in charge of organizing graduation for the seniors. When the lights went out in the middle of the ceremony, it was his job to fix them or find someone else who could as fast as possible.<br /><br />
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*Names changed for privacy<br /><br />
Original artwork by Elaena M

 “Someone get the lights back on!” the dean whispered hurriedly. The muttering of the crowd was getting louder by the minute, and it did not sound happy. “The governor is giving the keynote address using a flashlight. Do something!”

Ben jumped up and walked quickly towards where the other student committee members were sitting, trying to be as inconspicuous as possible. “Stephen, can you fix this?”

“What do you want me to do? I just strung the lights up, I didn’t make them!”

“Yeah, you put the lights up. That’s more than the rest of us can say. George was in charge of chairs, Brenda decorations, and Ashley sound equipment. I rented the lawn and organized the whole bloody graduation and you did the lights!”

“So…….”

“Go find the electrician!” Ben exclaimed. “Unbelievable………have to do everything myself……” he muttered under his breath as Stephen ran off. Sometimes, people just amazed him. He had just been elected student body president, and now his job was in jeopardy. Everything was riding on Stephen finding the electrician and getting the lights back on again.

“Well at least the mic works,” Ashley said from behind him.

Inhaling deeply, Ben calmed his breathing and turned around to face him.

“Yes, and thank you for that, but that doesn’t do anyone any good if they can’t even see who’s speaking.”

“We have three hundred students waiting to receive their degrees and the sun has gone down almost completely. Could someone please tell me what is being done to fix this problem?” the dean pleaded, having just walked over to join their huddle.

“Stephen just went to find the electrician. The crowd has mostly quieted to listen to the governor speak, but it may be a while before we can find out the issue.”

“Make it quick. If the lights stay off much longer, it could become a safety risk.”

“Understood sir,” Ben said.

The group went silent as the governor continued to speak. He was nearly done his speech. Out of the darkness to his left, Ben saw a figure sprinting towards them. It was Stephen, and he was very out of breath.

“The outlet overloaded” ………*huff*…… “We needed to flip” …... *wheeze* …… “the circuit breaker” ……*deep breath*…. “to get it running again.” He paused a moment, trying to catch his breath. “The electrician moved some wires around, and the lights should be back on in a moment.” He collapsed into a chair.

They all stood there with bated breaths, waiting to see if it had worked. Just as the governor spoke his closing words, the lights came back on. A collective sigh of relief could be heard across the lawn, just before the crowd started to applaud.

Lights Out

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1970s
Bombay, India

I interviewed Ben* over the phone. He had completely forgotten this ever happened until we started talking, and I could hear the amazement in his voice as he started remembering the little details of this story. It takes place during Ben's third year of med school. As the president of the student body, he was in charge of organizing graduation for the seniors. When the lights went out in the middle of the ceremony, it was his job to fix them or find someone else who could as fast as possible.

*Names changed for privacy

Original artwork by Elaena M

Decade: 1970s
Rating:
Recorded by Elaena M on March 13, 2019
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