They always met at the Philosophy section of the library because no one ever goes there, except, of course, the two of them. After his classes, he would go to the library and sneak in a box of donuts and she would wait for him behind the shelves at the far end of the room. Then they would spend the afternoon just talking.
He liked her because she was very honest and open and she seemed to know a lot of things. One day, for example, he wondered out loud how old the school was, and she answered, almost immediately, that it was a hundred and thirty two years old. He wondered, again out loud, how many rooms there are in the whole campus, and she told him, before he could finish his sentence, that there are about 220 classrooms, 18 rest rooms, 10 offices, 6 stock rooms, a clinic and the library. He asked her how she knew all these things, and she just smiled at him. He asked her how come he never sees her in any of his classes, and she replied that she doesn’t study anymore, but the school lets her stay around and use the library.
But what he really liked most about her was that she loved listening to him, and he could talk about almost anything with her. He could open his whole heart out to her without fear of being judged or misunderstood. Her mere presence assures him that there’s absolutely nothing he cannot not tell her.
Their conversations would always begin with her asking him how he feels, and he would always, without exception, answer that he’s unhappy:
“Why are you unhappy?” she would ask, and sometimes he would answer, “Because I have no friends in school.”
“I’m your friend. As long as you’re here, you’re not alone,” she would say.
Or sometimes he would answer, “Because I miss my dad.” And she would say, “He’s in a better place now.”
Or sometimes he would reply, “Because… I don’t know. I’m just sad, and I don’t know why.” And she would place her hand on his hand.
He was full of negativity, but his sorrows didn’t drown her out. She was always calm, patient, happy, and at peace.
“Who were you talking to back there?” the librarian asked him on his way out of the library one afternoon. He was startled. This was the first time she addressed him, the first time she paid him any attention, the first time they made eye contact.
“My friend,” he said anxiously. The librarian adjusted her glasses and gazed at him quizzically.
“Your friend?” she said.
“Is your friend invisible, by any chance? Because you were alone. I was there in the next shelf returning some books and I didn’t see anyone there.”
He stared at her for a long time.