I was reading the same book again. It was like an old friend. The creases, blots, tears. All the familiar imperfections that made it mine. That reminded me that the book had survived this journey with me.
I carry it around as a mask. My book. I hide behind it. I love to observe things with the scarlet cover shading the lower half of my face while my charcoal eyes hungrily devour the scenery through the mesh of matted eyelashes. Sometimes mascaraed.
I've been told my book makes me look anti-social. It's like a barrier. Between me and them. The people I observe. Who could be my friends if I tried a little. But the book separates them from me.
I had never observed him. But he had observed me. I've been thwarted.
He walked up to me and gave me a new copy of the book. He said, without a smile, "It's worn out, your copy."
It's not a barrier anymore.