Saturday, 6 June 2020

'Lost' by Simon Gary

On this day, every month, I stand here, looking down into the valley. From my vantage point, I can see the dusty track as it snakes up the hill towards my village. I survey the scene for movement.

The sun slices down from its cerulean shelf, and I crouch to sit on a rock. My bare feet kick at the dust, sending into swirling into the scorched air. As it calms and settles, some lands on the small stack of books that sit neatly tied to my left. These are the ones I shall return today.

The sun is in the West now. The few trees now jag shimmer-shadows across the road. Still he does not come. I no longer know if I see his truck, or if it is my desire that paints it onto the canvas before me. I know her every note and misfire; her every dent and patch of rust; I love the way that it jumps, leaps, and lurches towards me, like an ailing mountain cat. But most of all, I love the books.

Old Javier's mobile library is the most beautiful miracle, an oasis of quenching knowledge amidst the futile hopes of the farmers and the panners. He calls me "El Pequeno Sabio" - little wise man. Though if I were that wise, I would have known he would be late.

I am straining my eyes now. I stopped looking for the black smoke hours ago. Now I look for pinpricks of light. I do not even know if her headlights work.

When I arrive home, the generator is popping. Mama looks at me, seeing the same books under my arm. The tears on my face reflect in the saline of her eyes. She clutches me, warm, sweet, and begins to deliver the news.

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