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I was peeling an orange at breakfast. I looked at my wife over it. She smiled. Her fingers were scratching the side of the table. After a week, she still wasn’t used to not having a newspaper to read. We made our way through breakfast with only our sniffs and the clinking of the cutlery for company.

I made my way to work. Like so many others, my job was to sit at my computer and wait. On my way, I passed many familiar places – markets, malls, cinema halls. I couldn’t remember their names nor read the marquees.

I reached work and took over from the woman sitting at my usual workstation. I nodded to her, she returned the nod grimly, and then shook her head. I sighed and sat down.

And I began to stare at the screen. A week ago, language had gained sentience and left to regroup and formulate a strategy to deal with humans. Still no sign of a return. Across the world, people sat and stared at each other, or listened to telephone noise, or, like me, waited for the computers to say something. Although we didn’t have the words to express the thought, each of us hoped they would be the first to speak.