Book on Tape by Elizabeth Sowden

Episode 14

17 April 2007

“Hi, Roxie,” Javier said as he approached her outside of the Angelika movie theater.

“Hi, Javier,” she said, focusing not on his eyes but instead on the iPod shuffle clipped to his denim jacket. “What are you listening to?” she asked.

He smiled and replied, “Don’t laugh.”

“Ok…” Roxie said, thinking, oh god, he’s going to tell me he listens to something awful, like Celine Dion, and I’ll have to pretend to be open minded about it.

“It’s a book on tape.”

Roxie cocked her head to the side, surprised. “A book on tape? What book?”

Autumn of the Patriarch. Marquez.”

“Yeah, I know,” Roxie said, impressed in spite of herself. “That’s a great book.”

“I know it is, but,” he paused, shrugging bashfully, “I’ve tried reading it a hundred times and I could never get through more than a page at a time.” He glanced at her with pleading eyes, his cheeks slightly flushed. Wait a minute, Roxie wondered, was he embarrassed to tell her he had a hard time with a book? Roxie’s heart warmed, if only for a split second.

“Well, sure,” she said, “Marquez can be tough.” She didn’t mention she’d done her senior thesis in college on Marquez. She suspected Javier already knew, courtesy of Graciela.

“Its just so much easier for me to appreciate it this way,” he said, “I guess it’s the musician in me. I like to hear the words, you know?”

Roxie said nothing, but she smiled as she nodded.

“Listen,” he said, taking the buds out of his ears and putting them in hers. His fingertips brushed against her hair. She locked eyes with him for a moment as the narration flooded her ears. The soft cadence of the Spanish words silenced her mind. She looked up and saw the fading sunlight pool in his eyes.

“I’ve always wanted to read Marquez in the original,” she said, almost breathlessly.

He smiled. “Pretty awesome, huh? Come on, let’s go inside. The movie is about to start.” Her fingers grazed his as she handed back the ear buds. He tucked his iPod into his pocket.

“Oh, right, movie,” Roxie said, steeling herself again. “Lets get a seat up front, I hate it when people sit in front of me.” An hour and a half with a strained neck staring up at the screen would be enough to put the kibosh on this whole thing, Roxie thought. Who does he think he is, making me feel all fluttery like that?

Writen by: Elizabeth Sowden

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