Having raced across London, ducking past festival-going crowds, Saturday shoppers and lots of people laid down with plastic bags of picnics, my journey to Richmond Library had been a little fraught.
I rushed through the open doors of the library, feeling waves of relief that I’d made it there before it’d closed.
I was in.
I knew what I had to do.
I had to get started and begin talking to people. I needed to listen.
I wanted to take some photos, and get a feel for the place.
I’d left my husband waiting outside for me, sitting on a patch of grass, and had promised him that I wouldn’t be ‘too long.’
But I just couldn’t do it.
As though in a trance, I took a book from the shelf – Malorie Blackman’s ‘Boys Don’t Cry’ – I can’t believe that I haven’t read it before now – and sank down into one of the sofas.
I began to read.
The library had cast a spell over me.
I could almost hear its voice …
You will take a book.
You will find a seat.
You will read.
There was a young man sitting opposite me – also sunk, into book, and sofa. Lost in another world.
His name was Aaron.
“I *should* be coming here to work,” he said with a wry smile. “I’m on an Access course at Richmond College doing Literature, Law and History and I come here often to work. But also to take breaks too.”
He smiled again and proffered his book.
A Terry Pratchett title.
“I love Terry Pratchett. I read him all the time.
I didn’t used to come here but now I can’t stop.
And I like that it’s isolated from everything else.”
Like me, Aaron hadn’t been able to stop himself from entering into the world of a book, shuttering down the noise of the outside.
And like me, he was in exactly the right place to do it.