She shakes away her thoughts, and suddenly stands up. This is a catalyst. Lali Sanchez is going to fall in love now, very soon, so just be patient.
She edges herself along the non-fiction section. Lali is quiet, letting her fingers trail through the notches of every book’s spine. She already knows this shelf, just like she knows every shelf in her section. There are over a thousand books in her section, ninety books on a shelf, and approximately thirty per row. Each row is two footsteps apart, and five footsteps long. Lali likes counting things like this. She finds it reassuring. Considering she has been placed in an area of little humanity, she doesn’t have to worry about people’s drum roll heartbeats, or the glitzy electro pop of their lungs.
Lali lives in silence. She learns to appreciate the books. Being cripplingly introverted is surprisingly helpful—a really effective reading incentive, it would seem. She loves textbooks madly, and devours them like inky candy. Lali has funny tastes. She learns to savor the moment when she can hear the subtle creak of a book cart, or the hushed voices of library patrons. No one ever goes to her area of nonfiction reference. Lali imagines people think the books are so very boring, so useless, they’re not even worth examining. Or maybe they just think that about her.
Lali pauses at one of the books, her hand suddenly compelled to stop. The spine reads “The End of The American Dream.” Lali Sanchez doesn’t know, but this is the tipping point. This is the explosion. If she had not paused at this exact moment, she would have never heard the music drifting towards her. She never would have turned around and saw him. She will see him, though, because right about now her hand will move exactly three centimeters to the right, and linger there for five milliseconds. He will be there in twenty-nine seconds.