GCSPrank Is Here

For people who spend the day saying and writing things that others accept, while thinking things that are infinitely more interesting.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Library Girl

Roam a library long enough to become familiar with it and you discover its quiet spots. Theoretically they are all quiet, but we denizens of the bookshelves know better.

The quiet spots attract a certain type of person, one who can close out the world in wonder at what the printed page shares, who can almost occupy two places at once, body anchored to a chair; mind and soul exploring the Universe.

It takes hours to meld into a library, to learn its rhythms and cadences, to pattern its ebb and flow of humanity. Sometimes you explore the books, ambling the spine-stepped paths, letting whatever words and ideas come to mind serve as Muse. Other times, you cast your eyes upon the readers, writers, browsers, talkers and borrowers who enchant or infect the sanctuary.

I turned around a tight stack searching for I forgot what. Black hair, red blouse, white shorts. I know I didn’t make noise, but the quiet enhances senses and she felt my presence. I learned what if felt like to be transfixed by another person’s eyes. She smiled. I nodded and scampered away.

Against my instincts, I worked my way around to the other side of the bookshelves and peeked. Peeked! And she caught me. Her face and expression were perfect for a Renaissance noblewoman. I smiled and she laughed softly. She lifted the book she was reading so I could see the title. I understood: She thought I was looking for that book. Of course I was.

Have you ever seen someone you consider attractive, but when you get close to them, they drop down the attractiveness scale faster than a dive bomber? It is an awful feeling, like having a wonderful prize snatched from your grasp. But the reverse? Pure joy, a joy almost impossible to contain.

We spoke for over two hours in that disjointed, scatter-shot way two people engage in when interests are shared and neither have a clear agenda. The hell with that: we clicked. Smiles and laughing were frequent, muted and enhanced by our surroundings. After some time, she stopped being real. Or everything around her faded into unreality. If I could explain it, I’d be a poet.

She looked at her watch and reality crashed into me. She had to go. I looked at her and blinked in self-defense: she actually looked disappointed that she had to leave. Then she said exactly that. We each gave a short wave. Twice she turned to wave again. I behaved like a gentleman and replaced her book, a history of Victorian art.

Many times I searched for her, there in that quiet spot. Only once in a while did anyone use that table. But never her. Never her.

Once I found the same book on Victorian art atop the table. I grabbed it and searched every nook and cranny of that infernal place, to no avail. When I went to replace it, an index card peeked out from the book. Three words: Thank you, Gil.

I replaced the book and stopped going to the library. Goodbyes can take so many forms.


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