No one likes to memorize math

A large sculpture in the library lobby purposely leaned at a slant on a pedestal to give it the effect of falling. It made me think of nodding off.

People sat at tables — some read, some spoke, but it was hard to make out what anyone was saying.

Their indecipherable voices carried up high to the lofty ceiling and dissipated like smoke — maybe from burning incense?

The sounds in the lobby reminded me of churches, with their drafty, cavernous interiors. There, too, voices murmured, only they were prayers.

The library lobby’s murmuring voices made me think of clergymen speaking inside the low-lit confession booths at the Catholic church to which my parents would drag us as kids on Sundays and holy days.

At one point in the library lobby, the tiny voice of a child pierced the muffled exchanges. She began loudly reciting multiplication tables in a monotone: 3, 6, 9, 12. At her side sat a tutor who looked beyond pleased.

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