Student or Learner
I looked round and the first object that had caught my attention was not a book but a huge behind of a young overweight woman. The jeans she was wearing were at least two sizes too small and a malicious thought hit my mind about what would have happened with her trousers if she bent to the floor to pick up a book. As if she could have read my thought she turned her face towards me and gazed me through her thick spectacles. It was a look of a person in need and distress and I told myself that she was probably one of the 600 000 Swedes who depended on antidepressants and similar pills in order to survive.
I began to panic. The possibility to have sex with her and get my cheap bed destroyed already after the first night filled me with fear. I turned my head away pretending looking for something.
The second person reminded me of the comrade Lenin. He was thin and his face lean and sallow as if he had just been released from a Russian Gulag. He also wore thick- lensed spectacles and whenever he took a book he held it so close to his face that his grey goat beard brushed the pages. Every few seconds he would look up and sweep around the room with his small dark eyes as if he was afraid that the secret police was after him. He was dressed in a green German military jacket. On his left sleeve under the small German flag there was a picture of Che Guevara. A brown corduroy cap covered his head, hiding the over part of his auburn and dishevelled hair which looked as if had not been washed for years.
The third person was an older, wrinkled and wheezy man who supported himself on his walking stick. His whole body trembled and whenever he took a book it started to shake it his hand making every reading impossible. Hearing strange sounds coming from his chest I was afraid he was going to die any moment. I did not want to be the first who would help him and I went to the opposite wall where a small collection of poetry stood in a single shelf. I hardly had a time to flip through Octavio Paz's verses when I felt a sour smelling sweat. I looked up and on my left side I saw I tall and thick man in his forties with a dark hair arranged in a pony tail. His stomach was enormous and he was panting and sweating as if he was just arrived at the top of a the mountain after hours of climbing.
Suddenly, the door opened and a middle aged man came inside. He wore a dark beret and a green trench coat. At that time I could not have imagined that I was going to see him for years and he would never ever change his clothes. As he strode by me I felt a stale cigarette odour from his clothes.
All these impressions had spoilt my wish to browse through the books and I put Octavio back on the shelf and decided to follow the cigarette stinking man. Soon, I understood that he was not an ordinary book lover but a person who made business with them.
Within minutes the three shopping baskets beside him were bursting with the books. He was so obsessed with his purchase that he was completely oblivious of the people around him. His fingers expertly turned the covers leaving books back on the table or putting them in his basket. At times he would take out a small note book, flip through it and stop for a moment as if comparing something. Our eyes only meet once and I saw that they were sparkling. There was a trait in his character which was impossible to misread.
He was making easy money buying books for almost nothing and selling them later on for much more, but at the same time he prevented us book lovers to buy cheap books.
I felt anger growing inside me and I marched outside away from his greed.
To be continued...
Last edited by Bassim; 18-May-2008 at 18:27.