The building I’m in looks just like the city outside. It’s a library but it’s full of people, stone, glass, and metal, and the shelves are heighted and arranged just like the structures off the street.
This is my sandbox. I’m trying out a new self, and I want to keep the experiment contained, focused for now.
There is an architect named Rich Shepherd my age who looks just like me in the same city. I’ve always had a visual way of interacting and an appreciation for space. Good find.
“Hello, Maggie,” I said to the the curly-haired, ginger, early-forties librarian behind the counter.
“Sih-r,” she broke during that single syllable like: sih-she took off her glasses and dipped her chin while keeping eye contact-r. Her shoulders jerked up and down a bit, along with her hips. This one’s sensitive, potentially attracted, and/or neurologically defective. Any case, she’s a find!
“First, I like your scarf—it looks breathable. Second, I’m an architect and I can’t help but be inspired by this place as such—or you.” I smile.
She dries up instantly—it’s obvious.
“Just saying.” I walk on to fiction.
There, I see a girl. I say she’s a girl because she looks about twenty. I’m twenty-seven at the time.
She’s reading Cat’s Cradle, which I don’t like at all—too “why did he write this,” for me. But I understand the need to taste overrated stink in order to recognize it, and that’s where she is at. She’s cracking up laughing.
“I’m reading The Da Vinci Code. So exhilarating.” I wasn’t, and it sucked; I just took a cynical, sixty-forty chance.
“Fuck off, bitch.” She says, never taking her eyes off the page.
“I’m an architect, you know…”
She’s not listening.
On to self-help; desperation can’t hurt.
There she is—reading Dr. Phil, around forty-six years old, no ring on her finger, once attractive but rendered underwhelming by excessive empathy. I’m gittin’ laid tonight!
“I love him. I love the suspense element of his show: ‘what you nied to do is…more Dr. Phil after words from our sponsors…Welch’s grape juice is now fortified with chia seed <lip smack>…what’s right for you!’ that bitterness of minor abandonment warms my heart and sweetens the inevitable sweetness every time.”
“You’re a sardonic dickhead. Dr. Phil is a genius. Why are your pants stuffed? Why are you wearing sunglasses? Why are you wearing a fake torso that makes you look forty pounds heavier than you are? Seriously, who does all that at the same time?”
Time to get a dog.