The air was light and crisp upon his exit from the library, the brisk wind thrashing his face and neck as he pushed open the antique sycamore double-doors. He shivered and buttoned his overcoat, not wasting time descending the weathered brick steps leading to the sidewalk. He had vigor in his step, glancing fleetingly at the dozens of squawking birds flocking around the gushing marble fountain as he made his way out of the neatly kept courtyard. Traffic was beginning to ease up as it was leading into evening in the peaceful suburb nestled a few miles north of the shore on the coast of Maine. Lost in a flurry of thoughts and reflecting deeply on his afternoon, he found himself at the end of the sidewalk, almost stepping into the intersection and in front of a cyclist who soared by in a blur as he hastily jumped back. Having completely discarded his previous train of thought, he proceeded through the junction, with a bit more alertness this time, and paced himself for the nine block trek to his comfortable (and more importantly, heated) townhome in the south district of Portland.
Against all probability she made it to work on time, and with such a packed room of university students starving for knowledge she was proud to make a good first impression. She made her way across the room and settled at her desk, one hand intently flipping through folders and the other attempting to tame the messy tresses of scarlet hair that had been whipped around by the forceful wind on her drive into the city. She initially declined to instruct evening courses when she was asked the previous few semesters, but this semester was different for her. She needed the extra income, for one thing. With cost-to-live climbing and teacher wages falling she wasn’t exactly swimming in wealth. She in fact had to sell the colonial home she inherited in rural northern Virginia and move into a condo in Maine for a new teaching job in order to have a more sustainable life. She knew she was officially the poster child for frugality when she traded in her Pontiac for a thrifty Vespa. So the next chapter of her life had begun; a chapter in which she would spend more time working than ever before and spend her free afternoons scooting around historic Portland meeting witty men in overcoats at libraries.