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They had walked in with raging hearts and fiery speech. Their eyes were burning with a mixture of both tears and a strong sense of determination. But now they stood, looking down at the one in charge, numb. A simple “No”. That was all he would grant them. A heavy, stifling silence fell over them as his crude justifications vaporized and, weak as they were, became part of the white noise. Their impassioned words had met deaf ears, and now they finally understood. The salt water welling in their eyes was just a few drops in an ocean to the one in charge. To him, their tragedy was only something to wait out. It was something that would be eroded into nothing with a little help from time. In an instant, all the noise and nonsense of it came rushing back to them. A solitary sob broke through the irrelevant din that pervaded the room. They all reached out to one another, hands grasping shoulders and hushed words of comfort rising like smoke after a fire. He had heard them, but would not help them. They knew now that they had to set everything aflame to truly get his attention.

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