Christmas is quiet here

A man walked past this morning wearing a green shirt with a printed Christmas tree and headphones with a long chord and the chord hit each post as he passed it and I heard the clinking each time until he picked it up and wrapped it around his neck. He has a newspaper and a coffee and when he stops at his car, his friend who is waiting, says: turn it off now, man and the kerb next to them is hopping with sparrows and they both look down at them while they drink their coffee. Inside, a man has paid for his books and said to me that Christmas was a quiet one this year, he was off to get a pudding or something and some beer, it would be ok.

There is a young girl drifting around, lost in some place, not here, and a lady near her has red tinsel tied to her glasses. She says she can’t come at second hand books for Christmas herself but her friend, Dot, always gets some but she is silly as a wheel anyway. Eventually she tells her friend, Dot, who is silly as a wheel, that she would wait in the bakery. And she passes the young girl who is drifting around like slow music and she snaps the door shut and goes away from the second-hand books. The young girl is carrying plays, poetry, short stories and a complete volume of Edgar Allan Poe, and as she leaves, she tells me she is on holidays and this is why she has bought too many books. Then she has to wait in the doorway to let a man pass by carrying a wooden window frame containing rectangles of coloured glass; he says sorry there, sorry there, nearly there and the footpath is stained with lozenges of red and green and yellow and a child crouching down holding out both hands to the sparrows at the back of the ute receives coins of coloured light across his forehead and the girl with the poetry walks the other way and the crouching child’s mother calls him away from the car and the child says that the birds are magic birds who only eat twisties and water.

Merry Christmas from The Book Keeper

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