I guess most people never dreamt when kids that they would have the job they have now. I know I didn't, I know all my friends didn't. Who wants to be a librarian? Not even bookworms. It's a quiet job--too quiet--and a very boring one. Books to be put back on the shelves every day, about subjects that I didn't even know that existed. People asking me to help to find a book or a journal from ten, twenty, fifty years ago. Handling loans. The biggest excitement is when someone is late and has to be suspended.
Being in one of the scientific libraries of the university, I see tons of male students and a few attractive professors; but I got the job because the previous librarian left, after having sex with one of the students, right at the library. The student merrily told all his friends, who told all their friends, and soon people were coming to the library not to get books or study, but to see the librarian who had been shagged. She got a few very unromantic lines, and soon quit.
They told me that before they told me where the books where.
I had met the student, a blonde tall guy that looked at me as if I was the next in line. I ignored him, then and later. He kept coming to me, someone said that there was a bet that he couldn't seduce another librarian. Well, not me.
Others tried. All kinds of approaches, from "Can you help me with this research" to "Seeing you is the best part of my day" to more direct ones. One almost got me, and I might have given him much more attention if the circumstances were different. He had been very nice to me since my first day, one of those guys who came every other day for a new book and that you learn their names. "Hi Suzi" was his opening line, and he made small talk about the weather and this and that while I checked his books. I wondered for a while if he read all those books or just picked them to try to get to my pants, but I knew he read them. He knew all the other librarians, and even Mrs. Shank, the chief librarian, knew him by name. He checked at least three books every week. And he never made a pass on me.
"Haven't you read them all yet?" I asked him once. "Twice," he replied, joking.
One day the library was closing and he was in one of the back tables, with perhaps a dozen books stacked and two or three opened in front of him, copies of papers and three or four journals close to falling from the table. He didn't even notice me, writing something in a sheet already full with diagrams and symbols.
"Andrew... Andrew." He looked up. "It's closing time."
He glanced at his watch, surprised. "Shit. Can I have ten more minutes?"
"Why don't you check those books out?"
"I can't, I loaned others and I'm on the limit. And I don't have them here to return."
I thought for a moment. It was Friday. Maybe he had a paper for next Monday.
"You can stay while I close everything."
"Thanks," he said, moving to the books again. I took my time but, Mrs. Shank was still there, to close. "Andrew is still here, he's packing up." She oomph-ed, as usual.
When everything was ready, she told me to get him.
I arrived, and he had his head on his hands, covering his face, as if his world had fell.
He glanced at me.
"Oh." He started to close the books and clean the mess. "Just leave it like that, I'll take care of them Monday." He nodded, grabbing his sheets and shoving them into a worn bag.
"Do you need any of those books? I could `not see' you putting them in your bag, and maybe Monday you'll bring them back, noticing that you accidently took them by mistake."
He shook his head. "No. It's useless, it's flawed. Thanks, Suzi," he said, touching my shoulders. His hand was very warm, and left an impression on my skin, as if it never left.
"Andrew, you know the closing hours," Mrs. Shank pretended to complain. "Sorry, Mrs. Shank."
I left the building while Mrs. Shank locked it. Andrew had his hands deep in his pockets, and walked with his head down. He noticed me behind him.
"Problems with a report?" I asked. He almost smiled, I think I said something stupid. "No, not a report. It was... an idea I had."
"Oh." That's when he looked deep into my eyes, and I noticed that he had always avoided looking into other people's eyes, always staring at something else, the books, someone else, your mouth. He had a penetrating stare, blue eyes that allowed you to see deeply into his soul, sad and lonely.
"Are you going somewhere now, Suzi? If not..."
I looked down. I could never say no if I was looking into his eyes.
"Sorry Andrew... I'm going away for the weekend. I'm already late."
"I see... Have a good time!" I looked up, his eyes were again gazing the infinite, away from mine.
"Thanks. See you next week."
"Yeah, see you."
I watched him leave, while I wondered if I could get transferred to another library or, even better, another university.