Take your time for A.B.C.L: A Book Crossing Look...

A.B.C.L: A Book Crossing Look

The doorbell rang. He went to open the door. As soon as he saw her dressed in red, he screamed ‘‘no’’ and all of a sudden, he shut the door in her face. She remained speechless outside his flat, while scratching her naked hands in the long, dark corridor. But she was not alone. Next to her, there were three empty, black bags of nylon. Those bags were fighting against the air, coming from a small open window, in an attempt to stand up and prove him the hard and good quality of which they were gifted. She felt sympathy for those three whales inhaling bad quality of city oxygen. After all, “to be gifted requires insistence and persistence”, she whispered herself.

And she had both: she was gifted of both insistence and persistence. But such an impolite gesture delivered by him directly to her astonishing eyes, as an unpleasant offering, could not be predicted. He was an old man, around 80 years old, and he was well-known for his hospitality and good manners. Moreover, he was educated and had this so-called status. No doubt that, during his long life, he was both a gentleman and renowned author, resisting the temptation of one dizzy and busy wearing behavior. He was never rude to anyone. Therefore, he was a man of intelligence; a brilliant figure of no glitz and glamour addiction.

Comparing, now, this incident to the content of published encomia about him, she wonders: how could it happen to her? Staring at the brown color of the closed door, she thinks that, definitely, it must be her fault. So, she winds her memory back, by retracing her personal, recent past. Her eyes are still in the dark.

She has been a library employee for a couple of years. From time to time, apart from reading, she has to know a lot of writers that express their interest to donate their books to the library. This time, she did nothing to chase up things. Out of the blue he called the library early in the morning and asked her to visit him for the donation. It was not her that fixed even their appointment. So, for the time being, she cannot interpret the reasons why she had this door’s slamming gift. She did not deserve it.

There in the shadow, she could serve as one immaculate heroine of Edward Hopper; one mortal flesh dressed in the color of blood and hit by bad feelings. How strange emotions are sometimes! One moment they make you excited and another they take anything back from you in cold blood. In the meanwhile, between these contradictory moments, she has been in blushes, inside the heat of nowhere, and it is a small wonder she feels embarrassed.

The truth is that she has been in an unfriendly block of flats with closed doors and silent doorbells for a long time. And what a pity! She has left her bloc of notes at home, so there is no chance for body and soul to collaborate. Anyhow, in an attempt to convey her anger somewhere, she turns up her collar and decides to wait there, in silence, trying to eavesdrop what happens inside the closed –and locked- door of the author’s flat at the same time. She imitates the three whales by sitting down on the marble. Her ear has been stuck to the wooden door.
From the other side he remains silent. He knows that she has not left him in peace. She is like a cat sitting on the marble of a hot, dark corridor, while scratching her hands. That damn heating even in the corridor! How many times he had advised the sober administrator not to pay a lot of money for the heating. “No, it’s good for your bones”, the younger man was never tired to repeat him persistently so that every time he felt old twice. “At least I have learnt how to use my razor, and so I do not have such a bad beard like you”, the stern look on the administrator’s beard was insinuating him… One day, he would probably let something drop from his mouth, something like this: ‘‘Just a moment, son, to bring you a beard towel… it’s for my ass, but it is ok’’. But no! Until today he has been a gentleman. He is not allowed to give such an answer that would not shine as a ray of witty humor but would be harmful with sad effects for both sides. Add to this that the administrator has been a silly gossiper for all the time they know each other. No freedom then. Things will remain in silence. And the author is going to be free only by navigating in inner thoughts.

But she does not let him do so. He feels her perfume behind the door. God Almighty, there is no place to feel free. Even at home with the television turned off; there are watchers and eavesdroppers, ready to attack you. He is only an author with a well-equipped cv., which looks like a ticket for the playground: there are a lot of hobbies and activities written down to such an extent that the possibility to be called at the army and animate desperate soldiers might become true… How would he feel as a trainer really? Trying to give an answer, he could say: “Just me; just bearable if I had to treat bears”.

He is an author with a high sense of humor but he never says that he is an author. He is introduced always as “Chaos” and that’s it. Chaos is one good name; even for the digital era. Personal computers recognize him, so there are no problems. On the contrary, any real-time recognition, in the ordinary life, may be the cause for a lot of unpleasant things…

Today the appointment with the book employee should have been cancelled. But later after their phone talk, he had no courage to call her again and take his promise back. How weird he feels sometimes! Although he used to offer and donate books, he could not do this; certainly not. He could not give them the books he hated, all the poetry collections he was offered but never liked reading, just to spare domestic space. It would be a strong mistake and apart from that, it would be a misinterpretation either for his literature influences or personal likings. He would not like his name to be honorably correlated with any futile books in the future.

As an aftermath, all the distasteful books still continue to be there, consuming space with mathematic accuracy at the author’s home. Except for space, he has nothing else to give them. “Go on eating centimeters, I’ve got nothing else to give you: no eyes; neither reading nor devotion’’, he whispers them from moment to moment. Then the ‘‘controversialist’’, the spirit of controversy enters the door and invites him to dance twist. It asks him: ‘‘how about the sitting girl outside? ’’ And he answers the spirit: ‘‘by the moment I open my eyes, she will have left, my dear nightmare’’.

The fixed appointment was nothing more than a fictional dream. He is a barefooted sleep walker in a cold corridor full of books at the heart of the night. Dreams create strange games for the sleeping mind; they are the push that makes the body live and move in the dark.

How about a present?

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