from The Seasons Hereafter by Elisabeth Ogilvie
Whenever she came near the table, she touched the books with nervous, sinewy hands. Suddenly she seized one and opened it and became instantly hypnotized by the print. She stood entranced until she was freed by the noise of the kettle boiling. Hurriedly, she took a thick heel of bread from the box, spread it with jam, and poured hot water over the coffee in the mug. She dragged a chair across the aged linoleum and settled herself, the books about her plate and mug like ramparts. There was the long ineffable moment of delicious indecision, fingers hovering over one binding and then another. She finally opened one book and propped it against the others, and as definitely as if a sound proof door had swung shut behind her and locked, she had left the world.