Known unknowns

He was the kind of person who got easily confused by efforts to introduce him to new things. To be sure, it was not due to an inability to learn, or an impropensity to pay attention, or a lack of interest, or any other such commonly assumed confounding reason. Instead, it had to do with context. Leave him staring at a waterfall, and he could describe the local water cycle in extensive detail mere hours later. Give him the standard introductory book on water dynamics, and nothing came of it. Teachers had been bedeviled by this tendency for years, but he paid them no mind. He knew that they would not believe him if he explained it to them, so he didn’t. They, after all, thought in detail, not in context

Reading between the lines

“And these are the final remains from when I pretended to be a law student for five minutes”

“How’d that happen?”

“Free tuition and an unclear sense of what law is. Next shelf – methodology books”

“From when you were an actual student, I gather”

“Good times, now that they’re over”

“Hey, what’s this one?”

“This one’s a special book. I got it from the father of an ex who never said much, but always acted with profound honesty. It was a gift that signaled, in so many words, that things were getting serious, and that he approved”

“How romantic”

“Sadly, it was then I knew it was time to break up”

Library girl

She was at the library. She liked being there. Not just because the books there served as a repository of human memory, but also because her own memories were intertwined with these very same books. Walking among the shelves, she could retrace her steps through many a writing project. One section reminded her of her childhood, the old worn books still there. Another section had served as a refuge after a particularly dramatic breakup; she did not go there often anymore. A third contained all the books she’d used for her bachelor’s thesis. And so on. Each section was both a collection of stories and a story unto itself; by moving to and fro, she could read either with equal proficiency