the library, a visitor

Dr. Aaron Hausner cocked his head as if he was listening to the retreating sound of my voice slowly travelling into the distance of the library, finally getting caught in some shelves, its individual corresponding vibrations disintegrating and archiving themselves alphabetically in the juvenile fiction section somewhere between Susan Cooper, E.L. Königsburg and Madeleine L’Engle. “Dr. Hausner,” I whispered, “do you remember me?” He smiled. “You sound tired,” he observed instead of an answer, “I say, you don’t sound well at all.” I felt a brief wave of frustration and annoyance. No one ever answered my questions. But then the warmth of compassion in his voice reached me and to my surprise I felt my eyes filling with tears. I swallowed hard. It had been a while since someone had showed an interest in how I was feeling. We sat in silence for a while. Dr. Hausner didn’t press for an answer, and I sat back, not feeling the pressure to make any kind of conversation. There was a strange, comforting feeling that he kept me in his focus even though he didn’t inquire any further. We sat almost next to each other in silent company. I felt real and alive.

I don’t know whether I was crying. I might have been. There were a few moments when I felt peaceful. But after a while the questions came sneaking back to my mind. They were destructive and very smart about it. And I started feeling agitated again. Hell, I didn’t even know whether this grandfather, his reassuringly old fashioned, three piece suit clashing with his white skinned, bare feet in biblical sandals, who was providing me with his compassionate company, whether this man actually existed.  He immediately sensed my aggravation and shifted in his seat as if releasing me from his interest. Maybe my breathing pattern changed. Or maybe he was just a part of my mind, responding to me because he was me.  I briefly contemplated if I could ask some other visitor whether Dr. Hausner existed, but the problem was really, that everybody I would maybe choose to ask could equally be a fabrication of my mind. I couldn’t prove anybody’s existence. Not even my own. I just had to operate on the assumption that I existed and that people I talked to existed, too.

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