He’d just missed the bus. Half an hour then for another, according to the screen. His friends were still around the corner at the bar but the weather had turned damp and he didn’t feel like crossing the park again to rejoin them. A slight annoyance at bad timing before the book he’d been carrying around all day finally came out.
He’d had a friend, a monk as it happened, who’d always covered his books in plain brown paper. The only person he’d ever known to do such a thing. He could no longer remember why exactly but maybe it was to guard against the temptations of intellectual pride, or perhaps it was a habit acquired in the years before the Index was abolished. Funny, how holding a book in public even now for him recalled an action whose precise justification had long gone astray.
“What are you reading?” Without words, he lifted the book from his lap to reveal its spine. “The essay about truth, I liked that one very much, have you read it?” No, he admitted, looking up. “All my possessions are in these bags, isn’t that funny? My books are all gone, but on the other hand I believe your bus is here. Good to see someone reading anyways. ‘Bye then.” And he felt for a moment as if time had suddenly flown down to land on him like some exquisite and untamed bird, but just as quickly it passed and he got on the bus.