During my time in Paris, I found a nice little bookshop and I went there every two or three days. I would pick up five or six books each time and just read a little bit of each before I decided they were no good. I was extremely critical of other people’s writing back then.
There was a boy worked at the shop. A calm, gentle type, probably bullied at school, possibly smart. I imagined he was the type of boy who often falls in love, obsesses, and then hates for not having received love in return. Or maybe he sometimes finds a grave fault with the object of his attraction and his heart is broken.
One day, I walked in from the rain, my eyes dry, my groin sore from a whole night of sex. I was trying to find something to put my mind back in writing mode, so I immediately bolted for one of the shelves and started reading the titles. The boy spoke to me.
“Are you cold?” His English was careful like a child’s.
“Nah, I’ll be alright. It’s just a spring shower.”
“I can make you some hot tea. But there is nowhere to dry your clothes.”
“No, I’ll be alright. Really.”
He looked down, as if he had gone too far. He just sat there, his fingers laced, his face blushed. That is when I realized that I know nothing about other people.