The small cottage nestled in the heart of the city seemed odd in its squatness as the bland grey buildings stretched up towards the sky that seemed so full of life and wonder.
The rooms of the cottage smelled of off-set printing, paper and tea-leaves. A sense of love oozed from the interior walls of the cottage. Photographs of people - appearing as if they were filled with joy and surrounded by others whom they loved - sprawled across almost every wall. Each wall that wasn't covered in these delighted faces was filled from floor to ceiling with an array of books from every imaginable encyclopedia to the literary classics of Charlotte Brontë and Tolstoy.
Wilber ventured out of his house rarely, only for the bare necessities and even then he tried to stretch the time between each outing as far apart as possible. In the outside environment he felt as though the world was spinning slightly too fast on its axis, as if everything around him and himself could become un-hinged in a second.
As he stepped onto the footpath his heartbeat would speed up, a small pearl of perspiration would glide from his hairline, down the smooth wrinkles of his forehead to his furrowed brow.
In a swarm of people Wilber felt alone. He couldn't control his senses and instincts. His elevated stress levels did not decline in any sense until his little cottage was in view. Even then every step between him and his front door seemed to large.
As Wilber shut the heavy wooden door behind him and turned to see the ever anticipated comfort of his home, his breathing slowed. He closed his eyes and absorbed the familiar scents of everything he loved. Everything he needed. His muscles loosened as a sense of safety reigned over him.
His paralysing state of affinity was disturbed only when Alfedo glided past his calves and slumped at his feet, welcoming his closest companion back into their sanctuary.
This is where Wilber belonged, with the familiarity of his well kept books, his noble friend and his tired and treasured possessions. Wilber doesn't need the distractions of loud strangers or the buzz of morning coffee. He only needs the things he loves, for there with Alfredo and his books, he is whole.
Image via Weheartit.
Note: this is no way to treat books. Paper has a longer memory than elephants.