he wears the same blue shirt, reads the same book at the same library, what's the reason?
|The third reason
When he first came he was wearing the same blue shirt as always. Tall enough to be seen in the crowd and not enough to be remembered by his tallness. Green eyes, with a little bit of yellow, not too yellow and too green and not too different from any other green-eyed guy in a blue shirt. He asked for the first collection of T.S. Eliot and looked at the librarian as “yes, I still read”. For the librarian, Mr. Folks, this was another guy, bored to death, looking for something to read, having nothing better to do and not to feel guilty for doing nothing. Mr. Folks had this theory, that in these troubled days young people read for 2 reasons: they have to and they want to because it’s bad not to want to, so anytime someone, like the blue shirt guy, was passing through his library he was smiling at him thinking: another one. The book was not in a very good shape, once he gave it to Minnie, a girl that reads more than she thinks, sleeps, eats or anything else and of course an exception to Mr. Folks’ theory. She always made the books look like they were used as a shield in a battle with a tornado or a dragon that spits fire. The blue shirt guy sat at the first table, as if he was afraid to be alone, “Guess he doesn’t know that you can never feel lonely when you’re surrounded by books” thought Mr. Folks. He took the book, made the face that you make when you see a book that once touched the hand of Minnie and smiled bashfully, coughing to avoid starting a conversation or as if he felt that he’s asked to give an explanation. Mr. Folks then thought that there is something very odd about this guy, but not too odd to bother his busy time with it. So he went to his table, took his pen and wrote down: T.S. Eliot, Prufrock and Other Observations– odd guy, underlined once, 10:35. After exactly one hour, the blue shirt guy was standing in front of the desk, returning the book. He didn’t wait for Mr. Folks to say anything and just ran out of the library. “How rude”, he thought, “young people…they don’t change till they get old”.
The second time he came he was wearing the same blue shirt as always, it was Friday, the next day. It was raining pretty badly outside so Mr. Folks was not in his best mood but you can never tell, he always acts the same. He was in a way surprised, he never thought he would see him again, not so many come in, and from them just few return. Now Mr. Folks could analyze him better. The shoes were clean, but not too clean so you could see the blue shirt reflection in them and maybe adjust some wild hair. He asked for the same book. Mr. Folks didn’t put it back so it was still on the desk. He took it and sat at the first table. Mr. Folks wrote down: T.S. Eliot, Prufrock and Other Observations– odd guy, underlined twice, 10:35. After exactly one hour he returned the book and ran out of the library. “Doesn’t have an umbrella, will be wet in a bit…young people, don’t care till they get old”, thought the librarian. After an hour or so, when Mr. Folks thought about putting back the T.S. Eliot book he thought again that the blue shirt guy might return the next day so he’d better keep it on the table. At the end of the day, the weather didn’t change, so Mr. Folks thought maybe he should stay a little bit more, just in case the rain stops. He wasn’t a very patient man but he absolutely hated the rain. The rain reminded him of sins. He didn’t believe in God, but he certainly believed in sins of humanity. The only book on the table was T.S. Eliot and the first thought that came to his mind was that he could find something that made the blue shirt guy so interested in this specific book, but yet again, even if he was odd, he was not too odd to steal from the precious time of waiting for the washing sins rain to be over. The rain didn’t stop the whole night and Mr. Folks slept in the library. “We’re all sinners”, he thought when he woke up in the morning.
The blue shirt guy kept coming every day, at the same hour, asking for the same book, sitting at the same table, wearing the same shoes, a little bit dirtier from the rain, but not too dirty so you could say that he was a negligent man. Mr. Folks couldn’t decide if he liked him or not. After all, he decided to never get attached to visitors, they come and go. But there was something about him that made him very curious.
One day, the blue shirt guy came in and asked Mr. Folks:
- Do you like me?
Mr. Folks was shocked, he didn’t hear this question since college parties and it usually was asked by a drunk girl that got the courage to finally talk to him or to somebody else.
- What do you mean? Like you as a person, as a man, as a…
- Like me, I don’t know, as a person, I guess.
- I don’t know you, answered Mr. Folks instantly.
- I come here every day.
- I know that.
- So do you like me?, asked the blue shirt guy looking very something.
- I don’t know. Should I?
- Should you what?
- Like you.
- I don’t know, that’s why I’m asking.
- Is it important if I like you or not?
The blue shirt guy looked up as a gesture of serious thinking and answered very categorical:
- Not if you don’t.
- Ok, ok, I do not not like you, that I can tell you.
- What does that mean?
- It means I don’t know if I like you or not.
- How can you not know? You work in a library, you must know everything.
- I don’t know everything, I know what I know.
- And what do you know?
- That you bother me right now and ask a lot of nonsense questions and steal my precious time and I want you to stop asking them.
- So you don’t like me.
- I didn’t say that. I said…
- See? That is the problem, if you liked me, you would’ve answered right away.
- If I didn’t like you this conversation would’ve ended at “do you like me?” question. Don’t you have friends to ask them this kind of questions?
The blue shirt guy turned his head to the window as a gesture of “I don’t really know what to tell you, let me think” and tried to find the right words to put it but instead of answering he ran out of the door making his blue shirt disappear in the crowd.
He never returned again, but Mr. Folks realized that he found the third reason to his theory.