Bacon, butter, hollandaise, leeks, lemon, nutmeg, olives, shallots.
"I basically don't exist as a capitalist" She said. "I don't have a car, I don't go to work." She keeps company with men who use words like vestiges and confounded in everyday conversation. The line of tables by the window is full of playwrights and activists and full notebooks. The playwright maybe is the physicist, though, and how would I know the difference? So here is our cast of characters: the physicist, the anthropologist, the poet, and the lawyer.
The anthropologist leaves. As he packs away his work we all eye his table--right by the window, flush with light. I slip into his chair, bumping against his toes as he heads for the door. Exit the anthropologist.
I ask the poet the time. The end of his scarf, the very tip, floats in his coffee. I mean to tell him, but there is so much to distract: the lawyer heaves a great sigh, my pen taps my teeth, I have spilled crumbs in one straight line from the old table to the new. I am covered in sticky light.
There was a boy genius today, after all. He walked through the library, all of twelve years old, looking up at the girl he led. He would show her the library. I will orient you to this place, he said. His hand lay on her shoulder; his arm extended straight above his wheaty head. But he walked like a man and talked like a man. He talked like a man entrenched in Academia. He wore a furrowed brow, a sardonic eye. I met them in the stacks later, where I was hopelessly lost. I had spent near an hour stomping up and down metal steps. All doors marked 'exit' led me to places where people carried folded metal tables and gave me the eye.
I passed them as they were passing a service elevator. He glowered at the shelves. This is F-H, he said. Where it gets a bit, he snickered then, a bit more organized. He knew where he was going. If he had designed this library, exits would be clearly marked. He would carpet the steel steps to avoid the sound of footfall, any sound at all that might disturb the ruffle of his brow.
As it happens, the only exit is on the fourth floor.
The physicist could have told me that. He looks as though he spends all his time in the stacks, dreaming of and addressing neurons. None of us here in the window exist as capitalists. We are only good for trails of crumbs and the draping of clothing into full glasses.