prose sketch: rainy afternoon at the public library

Wed. 16 Apr 2014 ca. 2:30 p.m. North Vancouver District Public Library

Is it the patter of rain on a steel roof high above, or the whir of the air conditioning? Rain is falling outside: jewel-drops cling to the fingertips of the little potted yew trees out front. The broad colored pavements of the plaza are glazed with rain. Ghostly drops are visible against the dark geometrical shapes of the wide eaves; they fall from a blank gray-white sky.

Inside the library, the muted traffic of a few people: a hooded teenager sleeping opposite me; an elderly man out of sight beyond the potted tropical plant by me, talking loudly on his cellphone, probably in defiance library rules. In a thick accent he cheerfully says, “Okay, goodbye Carlo! Goodbye!” A curly-haired woman who sat down briefly with her umbrella now rises to go. To my left a bearded, tousle-haired graybeard reads a book by the light of the high windows. In the industrial-sized space there are echoes of trundling bins and slamming drawers.

And just now the main area of the bottom floor is empty of people, but a moment later people stride quietly through from different directions like extras cued for a movie scene.

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