The library is a focal point of east Marwick. Astonishing building, recently renovated art-deco beauty, boils with people hungry of good literature, chat and coffee. Spacious and bright lobby serves as a meeting point for all these bohemian intellectuals, who walk, dress, smell and are stylish, somehow en passant. They sink in the lobby’s sofas like teeth into the fresh doughnut. They are deep into anything they do, mesmerised by the experience of this post-modern melting pot.
Somewhere between book shelves Ben enjoys the privilege of combining passion with earning for a living. As a librarian he has access to nature literature of all kind, and he passionately studies it, filling his spare time with knowledge about wood life of Ireland, birds of Marwick and decreasing population of hedgehogs. By the way, his work colleagues call himself a hedgehog, because he is the only male in the staff. They laugh they need to protect him and this is how he feels among these caring Italian mothers – safe, cosy and well fed.
But outside library womb Ben feels lonely. The relationship with his last girlfriend was like a drooped stitch in a knitted scarf. He lives alone in his cosy flat, surrounded by books and trinkets which cumulated in his life like a dust behind the piano in old lady’s house.
Ben is standing in front of the mirror, carefully studying his face expressions and body posture. His brother always teases him, calling Ben the man with deeply hidden but not unnoticeable charm. Does it refer to his odd way of dress code: retro corduroys combined with pastel shirts with wide collars, or to his funny tummy, always standing out against thin sticks of his arms and legs? Probably both of those characteristics, and add many other things which in fact made his brother description very accurate. In his mid 40s, he feels healthy and full of life. He likes and nurses his oddity with tenderness of the child treating its favourite, oldest teddy bear.
Ben just finished shaving and found an exact description of how he feels now. He is a kite without strings – staying on the ground, motionless and useless, waiting for someone who would pick him up and make his colourful shirts dancing with the wind.
Maybe she is the one, he told to himself at the end of morning ablutions, and it was the voice of hope and excitation; the voice of debuting baker pulling the cake out of the oven.
He met Peggy two weeks earlier in the library and she invited him for an opening of her friend’s art exhibition tonight. They bumped into each other in the library, when she was looking for publications about poplars and he was organizing books on top shelves. She was focusing on her search through the titles and stumbled against the ladder standing on her way. Ladder shaken and Ben almost lost his balance on the highest step. She looked up, embarrassed and felt wave of blush flooding her face. This is how they met the chance to sit together on lobby’s sofa and discover mutual passion for the nature.
Peggy is a gardener, working at the Marwick University Botanic Garden. Gardening is a family profession, passed from generation to generation, like a shape of nose. She has blooming imagination and her mind is like magnolia taking spring sunbath in her mother’s conservatory. This is at least, how her friend Rachel described it, after reading her last story, written for children. Luckily for Ben, Peggy is the kind of a person, who spots unobvious charm in people and objects. She has an eye for detail and always enjoys imagining what’s behind the tree bark.
If you would ask Ben to share association about Peggy’s appearance he would say Bramley Apple. The first impression of her brought a mixture of feelings, as she is not a classic beauty, but sparkles interest which he could not resist. Her unusual way of being, her patchy dress, her shyness – he adored it from the first time they talked to each other.
Now, getting ready to work and looking forward for this evening meeting, he wants to be a sugar cane, mixed with her in a lovely apple crumble.