In his books
The old man sits there, at his desk, his head bent over. He is writing, then he stops. It looks as if he is thinking, maybe considering what to write next? Impossible to tell, he isn’t moving a muscle, his eyes still on the page in front of him. Time passes and the air stands. In an almost unnoticeably small movement the man is writing again but his hand barely moves and it is impossible to see the page. How did the movement begin, I didn’t see but he stopped before and now he is writing. The light is so dim, how can he even see what he is writing? Maybe he can’t, maybe it doesn’t matter to him, maybe he has been doing it all his life and his hand moves on its own now. Maybe he isn’t really there.
The room is not big. It isn’t so much a room, its a storage space for books. There are probably walls to the space, and a door, there certainly is a window. The books are there, that is obvious. The books are there to such an extent that the space is both full of books and filling the books. The books are it. They are not new books, nor are they aesthetically pleasing. They are words and sentences are paragraphs and paper, and leather, and dust. Surely they are more than that! They must be more than that to fill the room in the way that they do. There is no floor to the room, only more books. None are decidedly open, although on second look none have been properly closed.
Thats it, the books are moving, maybe breathing? Naturally none are moving at any visible speed, but they look mobile. It is impossible not to see that. The man is so stationary, it’s possible not to see that. The movement in the room is heavy and strange but it surely isn’t coming from the man.
The man is heavy, even though he isn’t particularly large or overweight. Thick, that is the word. His hair is white and thin, his head oval. He appears from above and so his face isn’t visible. His shoulders are round and solid, his palms dry, his fingers wide and long. Maybe his hands are the only part of him made of flesh. They write in microscopic movements. Maybe there are ants of ink on the paper, there isn’t enough light to see. And maybe it isn’t interesting to see, it certainly isn’t interesting to me. My eyes are too small to see it all. Not the physical size of them, their vision isn’t wide enough. To see the whole space in one look isn’t possible although it is clearly the only way to understand it.
There must be a door although it isn’t visible.
The books all seem to be of the same colour, so is the man, so are his hands. A faded brown colour, maybe it is called Tan. No it isn’t tan, tan has a life, this is something altogether different. Maybe his pen is black. It must be black, pens are usually black or blue. All that is obvious is that the paper he is writing on isn’t a different colour from everything else.
He doesn’t turn the page and he doesn’t rub anything out. It is unimaginable that he would move so much. He will surely crack and it is worrying to imagine him moving at all.
I am not afraid that he will see me. He won’t see me. I don’t even think he can. If he lifts his head his neck will break but I don’t think he knows it. It isn’t important.
Looking at the man and looking at his books are two separate actions, they cannot possibly be done without some adjustments. Something happens when the attention is elsewhere but I can’t find the right word to describe it. When the mind goes back to the books they have multiplied and now there are even more of them. The man must have also moved in some small way but it isn’t easy to tell how. His hand is still writing in those invisible movements, Im sure of it even though I still didn’t see it. This isn’t a particularly interesting scene, its just different, it is slower. But maybe interesting is too much to handle. It is quiet. Yes, it's quiet. No, quiet isn’t enough. It's soundless. A lot is happening but I cannot see it or hear it. The man doesn’t notice anything, I think.