|THE ABORTION : Richard Brautigan|
This is a beautiful library, timed perfectly, lush and American. The hour is midnight and the library is deep and carried like a dreaming child into the darkness of these pages. Though the library is "closed" I don't have to go home because this is my home and has been for years, and besides, I have to be here all the time. That's part of my position. I don't want to sound like a petty official, but I am afraid to think what would happen if somebody came and I wasn't here.
I have been sitting at this desk for hours, staring into the darkened shelves of books. I love their presence, the way they honor the wood they rest upon.
I know it's going to rain.
Clouds have been playing with the blue style of the sky all day long, moving their heavy black wardrobes in, but so far nothing rain has happened.
I "closed" the library at nine, but if somebody has a book to bring in, there is a bell they can ring by the door that calls me from whatever I am doing in this place: sleeping, cooking, eating or making love to Vida who will be here shortly.
She gets off work at 11:30.
The bell comes from Fort Worth, Texas. The man who brought us the bell is dead now and no one learned his name. He brought the bell in and put it down on a table. He seemed embarrassed and left, a stranger, many years ago. It is not a large bell, but it travels intimately along a small silver path that knows the map to our hearing.
Often books are brought in during the late evening and the early morning hours. I have to be here to receive them. That's my job.
I "open" the library at nine o'clock in the morning and "close" the library at nine in the evening, but I am here twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week to receive the books.
An old woman brought in a book a couple of days ago at three o'clock in the morning. I heard the bell ringing inside my sleep like a small highway being poured from a great distance into my ear.
It woke up Vida, too.
"What is it?" she said.
"It's the bell," I said.
"No, it's a book," she said.
I told her to stay there in bed, to go back to sleep, that I would take care of it. I got up and dressed myself in the proper attitude for welcoming a new book into the library.
My clothes are not expensive but they are friendly and neat and my human presence is welcoming. People feel better when they look at me.
Vida had gone back to sleep. She looked nice with her long black hair spread out like a fan of dark lakes upon the pillow. I could not resist lifting up the covers to stare at her long sleeping form.
A fragrant odor rose like a garden in the air above the incredibly strange thing that was her body, motionless and dramatic lying there.
คืนเรือน | ชั้นหนังสือ | The Abortion