It was one of those wet days that made me feel like a pond creature. I was running off the weight, and my stop, after a hot shower was the city library. There are places I go, and just listen, even though most people don’t, and if I open my ears, I will hear strange stories. The librarians are a combination of sweet and sour. They know me—even though I’m the sort of person who tries to be unknown. One of them wears a tight dress, with an accordion key chain around her arm. She stares at the computer screen like she’s hypnotized. The other is a blonde in her late 30s, and always says “hi” to me. There are two overweight women with tattoos and short black hair. They frown at me. There is a lady in her late 60s, who calls me the friendliest person in the world—she doesn’t know me very well. The last one, knows me by name—and wears skinny jeans, with a Dr. Suess t-shirt. The first time I met her, she lectured me about running in the dark without a flashlight. Now, we’re good friends.
This library is well-lit, clean, and the sort of place I would suspect to find a deviant—a person planning to blow up the capital—because they’re bored. Teenage girls talk about community college professors and orgies—they gossip about their love triangles—and who got scared. The boys are the homeschool sort— friendly, but they might as well be another species.
I love the library because it’s part of me. The places that we go, compulsively, become part of our personalities—the pizza parlor, Thai restaurant, and golf course.
But this story is not about that. I began to notice him.
He was homeless, and smelled a bit ripe. The patrons ignored him completely—like they couldn’t see him, but I found him fascinating. He read Playboy and drank from his water bottle. He wore camo fatigues, a curly beard, and a Raiders sweatshirt. He was in his late 20s.
I was hunched over my laptop, when an elderly man in a blue suit walked in. Then he spotted who I was pretending not to look at. The business man, but no—that’s not quite right, walked up to the kid.
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