The bar was a large room with windows entirely on one side and a high ceiling with industrial elements like I-beams and ducts and pipes. Which is to say that the place was loud, so loud that Thomas and Elaine had to shout to each other to make themselves heard from only a few feet apart. Then Thomas said something – something unimportant – and Elaine laughed politely, but did not reply. And at that same moment, every other conversation in the place, perhaps as many as a hundred, also stalled and went silent. The room was quiet. It was as though space had the wind knocked out of it. Then someone across the room said something, and then someone laughed, then another person spoke and in another second it was all over and the room was a cacophony, and anyone who had noticed something strange a few seconds earlier had already forgotten the aberration, struggling so hard to hear what their friends were saying.