He made his way to the back of the library. There was something oddly-soothing about the space. The commercial carpeting, the crisp, vaguely dusty smell in the air, the sunbeams shining down from the skylight up above. His bones felt still and easy in his body, and he hadn’t noticed until this moment right now, that they’d been quaking and chattering steadily for as long as he could remember. His insides had been so taught. And all was easy now. Breath entered and left his lungs languidly.
Feeling a little lost, unsure of which genre to browse, he wandered. Large print. Romance. Fiction. Speculative. He wasn’t sure what ‘speculative’ meant, but a display of books on the end of one of the shelves caught his attention. A pile of thick blue books were piled up around a hand-painted sign that read, ‘The Wheel of Time turns.’ Underneath those words, three ornate circles were interlaced. The bottom circle was a wheel. Adam lifted one of the blue books to get a better look at the cover. A large man in armor rode regally in front of a glowing full moon. At his side rode a small, but equally as regal woman. She rode side-saddle with a staff in her hand. Some kind of a fantasy book, obviously. Chuck was into these. His favorites were Narnia and Lord of the Rings. Chuck probably wouldn’t be intimidated by the size of this thing. Flipping through the brick of a book, Adam saw that it was over six-hundred pages long. Did he really want to commit to something so long?
He almost set it back down to find something more manageable. Reading through the blurb, Adam found himself wanting to give it a shot. An epic quest, the possible end of the world…he could get into this. Yeah. This could be the new Adam. Fantasy reader Adam. That had to be marginally better than anime Adam…right?
After giving the book a quick google on his phone, he was decided. It was a long-ass series. Fourteen books. Definitely long enough to be considered a new hobby, and in just a quick scroll through the results he saw a ton of communities dedicated to the series. There was even a convention for the books every year. This could be good for him. New haircut. New hobby. New personality. He reveled in the possibilities. The absolute newness of it all.
He sat down at a table nearby to read, feeling more in control of his life than he had in ages. He could make things better. He could make his life into something bearable, maybe even something fulfilling.
He was halfway through chapter one when a body thunked down into the chair opposite him.
“You joining the spec bookclub?” a greasy-looking dude in a red hoodie asked.
Adam glanced him over, warily. The guy didn’t look at him, but over his head. The guy shoved his glasses up the bridge of his nose.
“No…I don’t know. I was just checking the book out. It looked neat.”
“It’s not neat. It’s some cucked shit. Only women can do magic in those books.”
Adam looked down at the cover. It seemed like a pretty standard fantasy.
“Yeah. I was sort of into it for awhile. Rand is a cool character. Total simp for Egwene, but we’re all simps when it really gets down to it. I didn’t like the magic system and the feminazi Red Ajah Aes Sedai. Otherwise, I probably woulda kept reading.”
Adam blinked at him.
The guy scratched the back of his greasy head. “Whatever. You don’t know about all that. But do me a favor, check out Malazan when you get sick of that cucked shit.”
“You know it already?”
“You’re new to high fantasy?”
Adam blinked at him again. Why was this guy so interested in him?
The guy’s face reddened suddenly, as if he realized what Adam was thinking. He snapped to his feet. “Sorry, dude. I saw you take the book from the spec-club table. Thought you were joining. I’ll leave you be.”
But the guy was up and off before Adam could get the words out. Adam watched his hunched shoulders retreat up the staircase to the right.
He shook his head and went back to reading. He was actually really liking it. He decided to ditch his plan to head over to the park. He was enjoying himself right here.
Getting a girlfriend was still his goal, but he hadn’t been in such a good mood in so long. Why spoil it with rejection?