I grab my backpack, stuff my things in, and zip it tight. Make my way through the basement, down the long hall and out the “guests” door. It’s still drizzling, would have been a tough night.
I wander for a few blocks. Still got about two hours before the library opens. I know which streets have the best awnings and sometimes I wait for the rain to let up. If it gets much colder, I’ll head for the market. If no one complains, they don’t chase you out too fast. I think about looking for work, but thinking is as far as it usually gets.
I look down the street to the bank clock. Looks like the bank is long gone, but the clock’s still running. Almost time for the library to open. I want to be there when it does. I’ve started a few books. Never finish ‘em because I’m a slow reader. Dropped out after ninth grade. Anyway, you can’t get a card to check them out without an address.
There’s heat and a bathroom at the library. A guy could almost live there. Helps me forget what I don’t have. But sometimes it makes me remember what I had, too. What I lost.
If I’m lucky, I can get my favorite table, the one in the far back corner by the business books, and maybe sleep for an hour or two. Window looks out at the park. It’s away from most of the library traffic and right by the heat vent. Nothing feels better than that quick heat, almost burn, when your pants hit the back of your calves after getting baked by the furnace blast. You’ve got to get there early, though. Have to decide what’s more important: my favorite spot or a computer. Both go fast.
I’m too late for the table, make a quick turn and grab the last open computer. At almost every station is someone I ate breakfast with a couple of hours ago. I nod to some, ignore others. Too bad they can’t combine the library and shelter. It would make our lives much easier.