She was called Ruby when I met her for the first time. Ruby Isabelle Clay. She had short red hair in a bob. She nearly ran into me while I was shelving books. She really liked to talk.
Her parents had died when she was just a little kid, and she'd been raised by her grandfather, a painter in Connecticut. He taught Ruby how to see the beauty in life, and the art in nature.
She'd live with him until three years ago, when she was nineteen and set out for New York, to prove herself.
She was writing a biography. "About whom?" I asked her.
"About the people who live here."
She wanted to interview me. I told her I wasn't especially interesting. Ruby said that was utter nonsense.
"There's no such thing as a not especially interesting person. And there's definitely no boring twenty something male librarians with stunning eyes.”
"Fine," I agreed begrudgingly. Ruby smiled.
"Excellent. But I won't interview you in the middle of the adult nonfiction section. Meet me tonight at seven at the Starry Night Café."
She ran off before I could tell her I didn't get off work until eight.
I managed to get out early by trading off with one of the other librarians, and made it to the Starry Night Café just after seven. As soon as I stepped in, I felt like I had stepped into one of those cafes beatniks used to hang out in.
Ruby was sitting with her notebook and pencil at a table near the window. She was drinking something in a mug. She waved me over.
“I hope you don’t mind, I got you a coffee. I figured you might need it after a long day of shelving travel guides and celebrity biographies.”
She handed me a mug, and I took it gratefully.
“Okay, let’s get down to business,” she said scooting her chair closer to the table, and flicking a switch on her tape recorder. “Tell me everything Peter Phillips.”