My eyelids giving up.
One lady declares that they're the best, all those tiny treats to pluck from the trays and pop into her mouth. She makes a slow appreciative circle round the table, her fingers dancing over chips, crackers, guacamole, and beans, gingerbread, olives, grapes and cheese, puffy cakes and chunks of chocolate.
Hollow-boned, flying through the night. Can't figure out when to stop and for how long.
It's nice to see the relief on their faces when the exam is over; they know that no matter how they did they get to go home now and reacquaint themselves with a full night's sleep. (A full night and an extra half-day, more like.)
When I think too far ahead I tense up. Plans are precarious, people change. Sometimes I wonder how anything can be planned.
Five minutes before joining the conversation, I tell myself that I'm going to work on my papers and not socialize.
In the tiny office they sit on the floor, backs to the wall, laptops and notebooks open on their legs, and everything seems confusing, everything, so I crack a joke now and then and some of the pressure lets up.