Biblioquiescent Panic: A Case Study

I decided to escape the confines of my apartment’s white walls for the confines of the Austrian National Library’s white walls. I tried to visit years ago as a tourist, and left embarrassed, having never really seen the inside. Which I was told is gorgeous.

Today, I decided to be brave. I bought an annual pass, and went in ready to be dazzled by some gorgeous Austrian architecture. There isn’t really a good map of the reading rooms, at least not one I could find. It just looks like…a library? Not sure what all the hubbub was about. From what I understand there is a fancy reading room somewhere, but it doesn’t seem to be available for actual reading. Just for instagramming and private events.

Anyways, libraries, I forgot, are an absolute ADHD nightmare. It’s so…silent. I know, genius that I am, I forgot. But, this is excessive, more than library quiet. There’s nary the shuffle of a page turning, nor the occasional cough. There are dozens of people here and I’d venture to guess not a single one is breathing. My shoes were painfully loud while I walked in. I took a sip of water and the sound echoed violently.

I somehow picked the squeakiest chair not only in this room, nor in this library, but in the entire world. Honestly, scientists should be studying this chair to learn its secrets. After cacophonously scraping it in place to get myself seated, I am now stuck here, a bit too far from the desk, until the end of my days, for fear of ever making that noise again.
It was nice knowing you all.
“She died doing what she hated, being quiet.”

Since arriving, I have gone through the formality of opening my copy of Gray’s Anatomy for Students to the first page of the chapter on the lower limb. Chapter is a polite way of putting it, it’s more of a formidable, insurmountable heft of paper with a vendetta against my attention span. Honestly, I can’t bring myself to start, knowing I won’t finish. Thus, I have spent my time looking at what everyone else is studying. I took a seat at the furthest table back, lest anyone else give me the same treatment,
“Hmm, what’s she up to? Not studying, by the looks of it. She should really get started reading that section, it looks awfully long and she has to finish this class before September, tsk tsk
Honestly, it’s astonishing how many details this imaginary stranger knows about my procrastination.

Oh god, oh dear God. My stomach is going to grumble. I should have eaten something. And I have to cough. I have never had such a strong desire to cough in my life. I guarantee you, there is a German word for “the sudden desire to cough knowing that one is in a quiet room”.

I should look it up. Better yet, I should make one up. Biblioquiescent Tussis.

In the dream, I was here, but also in Boston. Where were you?

Last night I didn’t dream of you, but I was thinking of you in the dream. Talking about you, trying to call you but the phone wouldn’t ring. Telling mutual acquaintances a bit of everything, all the falling apart and the pain.

And wouldn’t it be easy, wouldn’t it be convenient, if we could just retreat to a cave and grumble about the world. And love nothing but each other.

And perhaps my opinion on the matter will evolve. It’s a cliche ripe for disproving.

But, for now, it feels terrifyingly certain, that there is nothing I will ever love, the way I loved you.