"You should thank me for helping you." I grit my teeth. "Thank you? You almost stabbed my ear, and you spent the entire time taunting me. Why should I thank you?” “You know, I’m getting a little tired of waiting for you to catch on!” He glares at me, and even when he glares, his eyes look thoughtful. Their shade of blue is peculiar, so dark it is almost black, with a small patch of lighter blue on the left iris, right next to the corner of his eye. “Catch on? Catch on to what? That you wanted to prove to Eric how tough you are? That you’re sadistic, just like he is?” “I am not sadistic.” He doesn’t yell. I wish he would yell. It would scare me less. He leans his face close to mine, which reminds me of lying inches away from the attack dog’s fangs in the aptitude test, and says, "If I wanted to hurt you, don’t you think I would have already?" He crosses the room and slams the point of a knife so hard into the table that it sticks there, handle toward the ceiling. “I—” I start to shout, but he’s already gone. I scream, frustrated, and wipe some of the blood from my ear.
Today I visited the medieval library at Merton College, Oxford as a guest of the Fellow Librarian. It is the UK’s oldest library that was designed to be used by scholars, and it has been functioning as such since its construction in the 1370s. You enter the library at the ground level through a massive door. Going up the stairs you reach the upper floor, where the books are stored. It is sensational to walk among the rows of book cases in the half-lit room. Their shelves are filled with hundreds of early-modern books (many still fitted in their original bindings), which are patiently waiting until someone will touch them again. Heavy benches hoovering over wooden floors are a reminder that this room was once filled with scholars leaning over their books, trying to catch the last light of the day. In the middle of the library a heavy 13th-century book chest is found, next to a small collection of shiny 14th-century astrolabes. What a heavenly place.
Pics (my own): library, book cases, consultation bench, book chest (13th century), stained-glass window (medieval), and entrance. More information about the library on Merton College’s website (here) and also here; more on Merton College, which dates from the 13th-century, here.