Silence falls on the room as all eyes and ears directed their attention toward the lectern behind which she stands. She’s waited for this moment her entire life, and yet, ironically, she cannot will any words to escape her mouth. It’s like a cosmic Dyson descended and sucked every conscious thought from her mind. Palms sweating. Mouth dry. The second hand hammering judgment in the deafening silence.


“The reason I called you all here today,” she manages.

Somewhere in a far distant reality, the alarm clock blares. She sits straight up in bed in the darkness and stares at the red numbers in disbelief.

“No one hears me. Not even in my dreams.”