A week later I am buying a coffee in a coffee shop I swore Iíd never go in but there is nowhere else to go. As I step back out onto the street I read the sandwich board outside the newsagents next door. ONE MILLION BOOKS TO BE SENT DOWN THE MINES. I buy a paper and juggle my coffee to turn the pages and find the rest of the story. It turns out that the books from the library have a strange, beautiful fate: theyíre going to be stored in salt mines the size of seven hundred football pitches, deep beneath the Cheshire plains. The perfect environment, experts say. Whoever knew there were so many in there, or so much room under Cheshire. I will have to remember to catalogue this final revelation when I find somewhere to sit.
And then I look up from the paper and see that he is making his way down the street towards the coffee shop I thought neither of us would ever go into. He walks faster outside than he did in the library and Iím surprised but also not surprised to see him and I find I donít move out of the way, I just stand there between the sandwich board and the doorway and when he gets close he has to almost stop still. He smiles a fresh smile in the solid September light. I move to one side and then back, to the other side and then back. It takes me all my courage to say something Ė to speak to him in words that arenít static and flat on their backs. I hear my voice come out into the air and the sound of it shocks us both.
ĎHow did you know about this?í
I stand there on the pavement, shaking the paper, my coffee hot in my hands, my face cracking with expectancy.
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