Sometimes I am restless and fidgety. I tear bits of paper into smaller bits, I don’t pay enough attention. Sometimes I sleepwalk through my day. I imagine myself floating, I hear muffled voices and see disjoint limbs in pants and shirts. I cannot remember what I was doing when I read a message informing me that the only librarian I have ever known had had a heart attack. I suppose now is a good time to use the word perfunctory, because such was the nature of my reply. “That’s unfortunate,” I replied, while probably checking for updates on every other app.
And so whenever I walked past the library, I made it a point to peep in. He wasn’t there, I didn’t go in. A month or two (or five) may have passed. I decided I was being ridiculous, went in and asked for him. The lady at the computer looked at me for a minute, and said, “He passed away. He had a heart attack.” I am not sure why, I couldn’t feel anything. “Really?” Of course, this ranks up there with other foolish responses I have collected over time, but I was realizing that in addition to not feeling anything, I also wasn’t thinking anything. “Yes.”
I couldn’t get out of there fast enough, I didn’t want her to see me crying. I would have liked to tell you life is fleeting, or transient, or whatever it is one says at these moments. Mostly I wish he was still around.
Since I have to make this all about me, I went back to that message. It said, “You know the librarian had a heart attack. He passed away.”
I don’t know what I feel worse about.