Shadows

The day that started out so normal did not stay that way for very long. It was a day that was quite evanescent; it was neither palpable nor intangible in a simultaneous whirlwind. A screaming alarm clock awoke a near comatose Gavin. He threw off the mismatched gray plaid sheets and hunter green quilt, unveiling his still sleep induced warm body. Swinging his legs out of bed, he placed his feet on the floor noticing that he lost a sock during the tumultuous night. Is there peace in a night? Or an unconscious battle? He scratched the stubble under his chin while simultaneously releasing a yawn. He rose, in a bungling manner, and made his way to the door, being quite cautious to step over and maneuver through the mess of yesterday’s brilliance that he left scattered around his bedroom floor.

He stubbed the forefront of his foot on a behemoth sized textbook and cursed his not being more apt in cleaning before he went to bed. “It’s what I get for being a bum,” he mused dreamily as he acquainted himself in his reflection. Gavin steely looked into his own gaze in the reflection of the toothpaste splattered mirror. He flexed a barely existent bicep and grimaced with despair. “God, 5 damn days a week I spend in the gym and I get nothing,” he cursed internally. With a hopeless shrug he grabbed for the well-worn toothbrush jutting out of the glass besides the sink and began brushing his teeth. Now Gavin knew that he was not the most handsome guy. He had few girlfriends, a slim few of them who willingly agreed to sleep with him, and was searching for any way to improve his appeal to the elusive opposite sex. So far, it had been hopeless.

Spitting and garrulously gargling the luke warm tap water, Gavin gave a last, pathetic glance at himself in the mirror and headed to the kitchen to switch on the coffee maker. He made his way to the shower where he avoided glimpsing at himself below the waist when throwing his dirty boxers across the bathroom, clearly missing the laundry hamper that was his target. He turned the water to near scalding and let himself feel the burn. He cleansed himself near raw until he was content. Gavin knew that today was going to be unremarkable. It was a Saturday, afternoon by this time, that he would spend hidden in the top floor of the library, comforted by the physics textbooks that surround him and, consequently, his mind.  If life were as simple as the concepts underlined by the methodology of physics then Gavin was sure that he would not be in the place that he is in now. He would not be alone. He would calculate what was to come. There would be no more mysteries. There would be no surprises.

With a towel wrapped around his narrow waist, he stooped over shuffling through piles of both clean and dirty clothes, both were undistinguishable. He sniffed a t-shirt and deemed it wearable and threw on an old pair of jeans. Tossing his towel in the corner of his room, Gavin smelled the tantalizing aroma of the the fresh brew coming from the kitchen. He rifled through the pile of dishes in his sink until he found a mug that would be passable for use. He poured the steaming black liquid into the chipped navy mug. He cautiously placed the carafe back on the stand and reached for the refrigerator. The door whined with effort as he pulled on the handle emitting both a faint light and an unpleasant smell. There was barely an edible item in the fridge. He snatched the creamer out off the top shelf, opened it, and sniffed it content with knowing that he was not exposed to the foul odor that comes with decomposing dairy.

Gavin tilted the creamer just enough for a couple of plops to jump from the spout into his the mug of coffee. He stood and watched for a moment the billowing clouds in a noir sea of coffee until a muddy color settled. He deeply inhaled the scent of the aromatic beverage and reached for the morning paper. It was his usual routine to pour over the papers, several different papers just to have some sort of connection with the world.  A bombing in Libya, a scandal in China, the President of the United States did, did not, will, will not do x, y, or z. The inundation of information like that of a deluge in a typhoon could be overwhelming, unless that information is streamed into a sense of power. Gavin had long since felt any emotional attachment to the stories that he read in the news. His once sentimental heart had grown rough and impenetrable. For this, he was glad.

Not long after he finished his cup of coffee, he scooped up his backpack and left his room, locking the door behind him, and headed out to the library.

Gavin hurriedly shuffled down the five flights of stairs and was borne outside into a blindingly bright world. He winced, squinted, and then raised his hand to his forehead to shield his light colored eyes from the unrelenting rays of the sun. It was not long in his trek to the library that he began to feel the prickling sweat under the weight of his backpack. This fall had been unreasonably warm and Gavin was one of those unfortunate people whose sweat glands activated as soon as the temperature jumped above 70. Shifting his backpack’s weight so as not to imbed the moisture of sweat noticeably and sighed a sleepy sigh, he headed on the unleveled brick pathway.

The college campus was quite extensive and Gavin lived in an apartment that was the farthest point away from just about everything. The isolation of the hall seduced other male loners like himself, creating a quasi-monastery atmosphere. Weaving his way through the ghost town like campus, he arrived at the library. Upon entering through the revolving door into the massive library, with its celestially high ceilings and gracefully carved woodwork, Gavin kept his head down and headed straight to the grand staircase where he climbed the groaning wooden planks to the seventh floor. He weaved his way through the forest like rows of shelves containing a myriad of books, cognizant of his heavy breath echoing in the silence of closed books.

Finding his office, Gavin keyed into the door, entered brusquely, and sat himself in front of his computer.

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