I sat near the back of the library with my headphones on, writing verses to a spoken word piece. I gripped my ink pen as the words bubbled inside of my mind and exploded onto the paper like tiny bursts of magnetic energy. I flowed until I hit a writer’s block. It forced me to relax my pen and lean my chair backward, balancing my weight on the two hind legs.
Just outside, there was a cluster of birds perched on the branch of a tree. I removed my headphones and squinted at them as they fluttered their wings. I imagined that they were in a deep conversation with each other, talking about the next place they were all going to arrive. I thought it was amazing how animals could communicate non-verbally and at times, without saying anything at all but yet still be in sync with each other. The silence of the library was loud enough to interrupt thoughts, but I liked it that way. It was how I escaped the frustrations that plagued my life. Solitude was the only medicine for me at times like this.
Just then, I heard someone clear their throat behind me. I leaned forward in my chair; the front legs came crashing down onto the carpeted floor. The noise I heard was soft like Q-Tip edges dancing into my ears. I smiled. I didn’t expect to see her there, but a part of me was happy that she showed up. She was a figment of my imagination for the past year and the only times she felt real to me were the times that I saw her with my eyes closed. She stood in front of me, cradling two books in her hand.
I could only see the one on top; “The Invisible Man” by Ralph Ellison. I had just begun reading the same novel just a few days ago. During the time we dated, she was always reading different books and honestly, if it wasn’t for her, I don’t think I would have ever picked up a book outside of the Bible. We were a couple for half of the time we were enrolled at the same College, but now, she was a distant lover who had never been closer to my heart.
I fixed my mouth to utter my thoughts, but she slid her finger into the middle of her lips, urging me to keep them to myself. She took a seat next to me and glanced at my phone to see what music I was playing. She winked and grabbed one of my earbuds and slid it into her ears as she flipped open one of her books to the page she had marked. Silently, she began reading, bobbing her head to Nas as he asked us, “whose world is this?”
She glanced at me, then shifted her vision towards my paper, prompting me to pick up my pen and get to writing and with that, I followed suit. The ink pen effortlessly stroked the lines of paper like a paintbrush, seamlessly picking up where I left off. She slid her hand on top of mine as her eyes moved peacefully back and forth across the page of her book. She told me everything I needed to hear and never once moved her lips to say it.