In Her Element

“Why are you here?” she asked without even looking.
“I love to read.” he answered as he pulled himself a seat next to her.
She tilted her head to face him, raised one of her eyebrows so it showed above her insanely thick red plastic rims. The hardly evident eyebrows are real, he thought amusedly.
“Here. Why are you here? Not like, say, way over there.” her sarcastic whisper was sharper than nails scratching a chalkboard.
“Because your fieriness gives me warmth.” he whispered back shamelessly.
“Watcha readin’?” still, insistent on asking.
“None of your damn business.” and with that she continued on reading.

With that, he zipped his mouth.

Her chin was resting on her right palm. Her loose ponytail sagged and rested on the nape of her neck. The cover of the book she was reading rested on her left hand, with her thumb holding several pages back.

She could make the smallest movements. Movements only a bit bigger than breathing. She could turn pages just by the tip of her left thumb. As if she didn’t want to awaken the soul that was lured somewhere in the book’s wilderness she was reading.

He carefully pushed back his chair. Lifting it as not to make even a sound of wood rubbing against carpet. He left his beanie and mittens on the table next to her. On purpose. An ‘I’ll be back’ of some sort.

It’s a date. He playfully imagined. She’s my date. The girl who reads. Not some dead in the head beauty who talks without thinking. Who kisses without feeling.

He’s figured it out for quite a while now. Her reading schedule. The books she likes. The sections she is always seen lingering in, before she has gathered her books of the evening. No more than 10 books. The library’s limit is 4. She reads a chapter each before deciding which to borrow. A rule often forgotten if the book has caught her by the hook. Causing her to stay there longer than planned. Almost every time.

She comes here every other evening when she is not slicing lettuce and onions for her sister’s Taco truck. He could smell the onions emanating from her fingers sometimes. Though it’s clear that sometimes she tries to hide it with her perfume. A scent that reminds him of some type of tea he just couldn’t put his finger on.

He could easily be considered a stalker. If she didn’t know his parents and where he lived. If she wasn’t already dating his best friend since before they hit puberty.

He was the shoegazer, his best friend was the stargazer. She was wooed by his telescope and his knowledge of constellations. What she didn’t know, the same telescope was used quite often to peek into her room.

The library was her way, of killing time. Innocent years, months, weeks, days, hours, minutes and seconds she found guilty for keeping him from her.

The library was his way of buying time. Guilty years, months, weeks, days, hours, minutes and seconds he could steal from his best friend. To be with her. In her element.

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