It was a full two weeks before he realized the haze he’d been walking through. Even then, it was only Eleanor who helped him realize that he was living like a zombie. She stepped in front of a rolling shelf that Tom was pushing and had to say his name a couple times because he wasn’t slowing down.
“Tom! Hey, you were about to roll me over there.” She smiled and Tom couldn’t help but smile back. He felt the brightness and the warmth she radiated and he imagined that he was greeting the sun.
“Do you remember me?” She asked when Tom didn’t say anything. He must have looked pretty dumb staring at her with that goofy grin. “It’s me-”
“Eleanor. Of course I remember you,” he said.
From then on, Eleanor was always at the library. She explained to Tom that school had been on break. That was why she hadn’t been around for the last couple of weeks. He was just glad that she wasn’t a figment of his imagination.
Generally, Eleanor kept to herself. She’d curl up in an overstuffed burgundy couch that sat open to the hearth, enjoying the feeble fire there. She only left that spot when she finished a book. She was a fast reader.
“What did you read today?” he asked when she passed him on her way to a shelf.
“Many things,” she said brightly.