A funny thing today

by moniguzman on August 26, 2014

I was in the Northeast Branch of the Seattle Public Library, sitting on a cushy chair near the back that’s just right for my beach ball of a 32-week pregnant belly.

It was morning. Not 30 minutes after the library opened at 10 a.m. And sitting kitty corner from me was a teenage boy in loose black clothes and a big black baseball cap who could not stay awake.

At first I wasn’t sure. His long, greasy hair hid what his low baseball cap exposed and if I glanced sideways at him a certain way I could tell myself that he was, bent so far over like that, actually reading the book open on his lap.

Then he started falling.

I noticed the big, slumpy tennis shoes. The backpack on (I think it was) the floor. It’s 10:30 in the morning, I thought. How old is he? And what the heck made him so tired now?

A post-lunch crash, for example, I can understand. I fought those furiously back when I used to work all day in a newsroom, in constant view of breaking news reporters who had ten places to be. More protein at breakfast, people said. I didn’t listen.

The teen’s sleepy head bobbing was at least … controlled. I’d see it in the periphery of whatever email I was typing. His head would drop, slow and steady, and when he’d catch it he wouldn’t jump and jerk it back up. He’d raise it just as slowly as it had come down. Gentle, gentle. Smooth as you please.

I think he’s gotten good at this, I thought. And went out to find my lunch.

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