130, Part 1

130, Part 1: Trauma at the Driver Licensing Office

“130 pounds,” she stated to the customer service assistant standing behind the chest-high counter.  Having said that, the teen shot a sidelong glance at her companion, a middle-aged woman who stood by her side.

“WHAT?” screeched this woman, likely her mother, mouth slightly ajar.  Her daughter paled.

The customer service assistant averted his gaze away from the pair, directing it downwards.  He focused an uncommon degree of concentration towards punching the numbers on his computer’s keyboard.  It would be best to not intrude in this personal, private matter; to just be invisible and pretend that he saw nothing.  To pretend that he didn’t see the teen hesitantly turn her face to take in her mother’s questioning look, nor how the teen’s strong eyebrows sagged with weakness.

The next time he looked up, he did his best to address the pair neutrally.  “We’ve just got to take a photo for the driver’s license now.  Could you please stand in front of the screen?”

“It’ll be just like a passport photo,” he explained to her.  When the teen shuffled to the white screen and looked up at the camera, her oval face was one of dispassion and indifference.  Her eyes no longer were blurry.  They glared straight at the camera, although more so blankly than fiercely.  Her jaw slackened, making it take on a broader, squarer, more angular dimension than it had earlier.  There was clearly no need for him to remind her not to smile.

“Thank you. Is that alright?” he asked, showing the girl the photo.  She nodded, face still wearing the same cold, detached expression captured by the camera.

He rushed through the rest of the typical licensing questions and forms.  Though the pair of females did not make eye contact much in the first place, it was evident from the outright avoidance of eye contact that something had shifted between them during the time they stood at the licensing counter.  If their relationship was akin to the bridge, something like an earthquake had just shook it.  Perhaps it had even caused cracks.

Communication between the pair halted.  They didn’t exchange any more words, even as they exited the driver licensing office and out of the customer service assistant’s sight.

130.  Who knew a single number could cause this?


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