You have not known what you are.
You have slumbered upon yourself all your life.
Your eyes have been as much as closed most of the time.
What you have done is already in mockeries.

The mockeries are not you.
Underneath them
And within them,
I see you lurk...

-Walt Whitman


who is this girl?

Enoch read with intent under a lamplight. Flipping through the pages, he was carefully savoring every word as how a connoisseur would taste a decade-old wine. His brows were curving to meet. When reading, this usually means only two things for Enoch: One, that he is either challenging a truth an author claimed, or two, there’s something distracting him from his reading. In this particular case, it was for the second reason.

The distraction sat two tables away, silently reading a book. Enoch cautiously watched the culprit from his seat. She was wearing eyeglasses, typical for a school girl who reads a book in a library. She had short hair, neatly clipped from one side to reveal a pretty face. Behind the glasses were chinky eyes, calm but oddly full of expression. Enoch was drawn by them-the kindness that seemed to be churning within them. For a moment, he was thrown into a warm reverie, like he was sitting beside a crackling fire in a cold winter night. However it ended in an instant, as the girl’s eyes rolled in their sockets and looked directly at him.

Utterly taken off guard, he almost threw the book he’s holding in the air. Embarrassed, he immediately shoved his head onto the book and pretended to read. He actually tried to get back into reading but he couldn’t. No thoughts or wisdom in printed words could detach him from the moment. The distraction was too overwhelming than what he’d anticipated. He couldn’t do anything but sigh while thinking, “Who is this girl?”

The girl continued to read silently. The only sounds she made were that of paper grazing another everytime she turned a page. Heart-pounding, Enoch would periodically glance at the girl’s direction, sometimes watching her from behind his book, or when he would reach for his pen he intentionally dropped on the floor. Frustrated, Enoch closed his book and walked toward the mysterious girl.

Hesitation could be vividly heard in his steps - rubber on wood echoing off the walls of the dimly-lit library. There were no definite thoughts in his head as he walked along the aisle. He was walking out of impulse that seemed to come out of nowhere. The choice to move was so unpredictable and brisk, that he even considered the thought of being remotely controlled by someone.

And so he walked on. Four meters. Then, Three. Two meters. One. He had a split-second glimpse of the book she was reading: A Murakami. And then, with one great beat of a heart in distress, he suddenly regained voluntary control of his limbs, walked past the girl and to the book shelves ahead. He hid behind them cursing in silence, lips moving to read “pathetic idiot” in a loop, while his heart thumped against his throat.

As he calmed himself, he watched the girl through the gaps of the shelves, admiring her silhouette, beautiful against the yellowish lamp light. And while he did so, a curious sentiment dawned on him: This girl was his type. He didn’t even know he had a type until that very moment. The thought surprised him because he never felt that way before, and that, in a way, gave him a sense of excitement. He was about to cross a bridge of chance for the first time, waters churning underneath as did the elating, fearful emotions within his heart.

He closed his eyes, muttered something in the dusty air, breathed in deeply as if sucking in all the courage offered by the Universe, and then out. He walked from the shelf and towards the girl. His steps, this time, were steady and determined. It didn’t take long before he reached the girl’s table. He smoothly pulled a chair, sat opposite the girl, and hid his face behind his book. Remembering a line from Murakami's
Sputnik Sweetheart, Enoch quoted, “In dreams, you don't need to make any distinctions between things. Not at all. Boundaries don't exist.”

And then came silence. The voice that conjured the words hung in the space between them, a flickering beacon pleading to be kindled. Enoch waited.

“So in dreams there are hardly ever collisions. Even if there are, they don't hurt. Reality is different. Reality bites.”
The girl spoke back in a soft voice that seemed to reverberate against Enoch’s heaving chest.

Impressed, Enoch slowly lowered the book and was greeted by the girl’s shy smile, his unfounded fears dissipating in rhythmic waves of euphoria.

“Hi. I’m Enoch,” He offered a clammy hand, reaching, hovering across the table.

“I’m Isobel.”

Two hands conjoined over the table. Eyes locked in wonder and destinies colliding in a burst of words that would take them a hundred lifetimes to fully comprehend.

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