I glide between the rows of shelves, breathing in the musty odor of tomes, rarely used or disturbed. I glide by sections full of anthropology, English literature, philosophy. I feel their depth in my soul, their knowledge beckoning me to pick them up. I let my fingers tread lightly across book bindings, as though the knowledge would somehow seep into my brain through osmosis.
The pressure of concrete walls would probably make even the most bold quiver with claustrophobia. Here, Marx and Aristotle are almost side by side, Cervantes doesn’t find his writings that far away from Stephanie Meyer. Here is the place where the imagination runs wild, where greatness and lack thereof, somehow, find themselves face to face.
The ancestors of thought rest in here – it’s a graveyard of sorts, a graveyard of ideas where modern television sets do not dare penetrate as they host their reality shows and singing contests. Yes, these old books speak, of times long gone. Inhaling their scent, I cannot help but feel as though I have suddenly found myself amongst brilliance. Ideas long left to moulder under an oppressive blanket of dust.
I finally reach the section I was originally looking for – the PQ section, to be more precise. I spent my days here as a graduate student, attempting to find Ricardo Güiraldes’ Don Segundo Sombra, Borges’ Ficciones, Cervantes’ Don Quijote. I go down the row, my shoes clacking on the linoleum floor as I find the book I’m looking for – Fortunata y Jacinta, a novel written at the turn of the century by Galdós. Here, there is no need for first and last names – one name can suffice. One name carries so much weight with it, why bother with two?
I open the book and begin reading.