Overdue

This did not happen.

One Friday night, a man sat alone reading in a public library. He had gone to that place in the hope that the nearness of strangers would help stave off the lonely feeling that sometimes stole over him when he was on his own.

As he read, he became more and more frustrated by his novel – the characters were too shallow for his taste – and, with a snort of disgust, he put the book down on the table in front of him.

Unfortunately for the man, the noise of his snort, and the percussive sound that accompanied the putting down of the book, were above the level of a whisper, which was the normal threshold for noise in this library – even on Friday afternoons – and the librarian and several readers shushed him in unison.

But a woman – gentle, but with a twinkle in her eye – looked across the room, saw the book and the man, and understood instantly what had happened.

She stood silently and glided towards him like a swan upon a lake.

She motioned with her large eyes for the man to follow her; and follow her he did. Noiselessly they escaped the cloistered confines of that soulless place. Then, under a moonlit sky, they walked, laughing and twirling as they went; freedom and creation flowing through them.

Later, as a fair spring breeze caressed their cheeks, he lent her his coat, and they sat and talked until the early hours of the following day.

They parted feeling reborn, complete and free. And they vowed to meet again, which they did the next day, and every day forever after.

This happened.

A man in a library put down his senseless book with a bang and a snort. Those gathered near him, including some who were browsing through the open stack, expressed their wrath through loud tut-tuts and shushes. But one woman was not shushing or tutting; and, as his eyes lit upon hers, he felt a pang of love pierce him through. He left the library rather hurriedly, then, but returned the next day, and for many days thereafter, always in the hope that he would see her again. But he never did, and the feeling of not meeting her weighed upon him and added to his loneliness.

Overdue

Matthew Dalton

Joined June 2008

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