|NYC Public Library/Wikipedia image|
Along the way, there was something wonderful to see. In a ground-floor studio there lived an old couple, a man and woman, who enjoyed reading. No, I mean they really enjoyed reading. Every single time I passed their window, they were reading.
If they had a curtain, they never closed it. You could always see them. They sat at matching desks that had slanted surfaces like drawing boards. The desks were positioned against a wall on the right, and over each hung a lamp that focused a bright beam of light on the slanted surface. The man and woman were always sitting at these desks, reading.
In the morning I saw them at their desks, reading. When I got home after dark, there they'd be in that bright pool of light, lost in their reading.
I suppose this might seem depressing to some but what I felt when I saw them was envy. The purpose of life is to read. It's always been that way for me. I was jealous. I couldn't believe I had to go to a job every day while they got to stay home and read. They were living the life and I wanted in.
To this day, I think of them now and then and smile. I'll bet they read on the day they died. My only regret is that I never spoke to them. But there was no opportunity. They were always . . . reading.