This short story was created after four mornings of observing the interactions between two library patrons while I studied.

He was a regular, every morning he would be one of the first through the doors. He would claim the same red armchair and sit there always in sensible shoes and clothes, a newspaper in hand. His chair positioned to have a perfect view of the front entrance. Settling in he would open up his paper and read through the world news section, grumbling and shaking his head every now and then. However, if you watched him closely you would notice that it was all show and he was really using his newspaper as a screen, which over the top of he would discreetly assess each person who came through the doors. Many he dismissed as unimportant, but then there was her.

Like him, she must have been a regular at the library as she seemed to know her way around the shelves. Her hair was long, wispy and so white it had an ethereal glow. Her facial features were delicate, with eyes the colour of a hot chocolate, today she wore a black skirt, so long that it was only when she walked you got a peek at her toes. His eyes lit up as he saw her and he followed her progress through the library to her favourite reading spot by the window. It was only then I noticed his red armchair was also in the perfect spot to keep her in sight.

He completely gave up the appearance of reading his newspaper as his eyes kept flicking toward her. A frown of utter concentration appeared on his face and he started muttering under his breath, it looked like he was giving himself some encouragement. He ponderously rose from his armchair and, once upright, ran his hand over his woollen jumper to get rid of the bumps. Steadily, he started in the direction of the white-haired lady.

He was so close to her, no more than two metres away when she looked up. Her gaze must have been as dauntingly regal as her manner because it stopped him cold in his tracks. He swayed, undecided for a moment, looking for a suitable escape route. Luckily for him, the stand holding the newspapers was just a few paces to his right. His steady steps took him over, her eyes following his progress. A slight frown marred the delicate features of her face – she looked unhappy with him, perhaps even disappointed. Sighing, she repositioned herself and went back to her reading.

He grumbled to himself the whole walk back to his red armchair. An aura of disappointment enfolded them both as once again they read their respective literary distractions. He put his paper down for a moment and looked around at the other patrons in the library. His eyes crossed mine and I smiled at him, but he did not acknowledge me, dismissing me as unimportant.

 

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