Don't guess! If you don't know a word in the story, check it in a simple dictionary.
"Uh, excuse me. What are you doing?" Julian says.
"You'll see." Summer pulls harder until there's a loud cracking sound. The wood around the drawer splinters as it slides out. "Whoops. I think it was locked. Sorry about the desk."
"Well, it's not like he's going to use it," Julian says, too shocked by her strength to even care about the furniture.
She sets the drawer on top of the desk and Julian looks down into it. There's a stack of papers inside. The top one says "A Family: Poems by Asher Barnes."
Summer smiles. She has a nice smile, Julian thinks. Julian hasn't really seen anyone smile much these past few days. Everyone just gives him sympathetic looks. Her smile is so comforting and fresh after all the frowns.
"Your dad used to joke about the manuscript hidden in his desk. After he died, I started to wonder if maybe it was more than just a joke."
She picks up the papers and hands them to Julian. Julian flips through the first few pages, then groans. "Why does this have to be so difficult? None of these make any sense."
Summer moves the drawer aside and sits on the desk, then motions for Julian to sit next to her. She takes the papers from him and looks at the first poem. "It makes sense if you work at it. It's like a puzzle. See that first part? That's about you. And I'm pretty sure the second one is about your mom."
She guides him through the poem line by line, explaining the different images and historical references. After a few poems, it becomes clear that this is a family history. It is about him and his mom and his grandparents and their grandparents. It's about his dad. Summer works her way through the rest of the poems and, as she does, Julian feels something special in the room. It's like the world moves slower when Summer reads his father's words to him.
When they get to the last page, Julian can't believe it's over. He wants it to go on forever. He checks his watch and sees that six hours have already passed. All of the other lights in the building are turned off. He doesn't know how he lost track of time so completely.
Julian reaches out and touches Summer's hand. She thinks he's reaching for the manuscript, but he brushes it aside and places her hand in his.
"Thank you, so much. You have no clue what this meant to me," he says.
"Well, your father meant a lot to me, too. I'm glad I got to share him with you." She smiles that lovely smile at him. Julian wonders what his father would think if he could see Julian in his office with one of his students. Would he approve? Did he ever think about setting him up with Summer? He did always say Julian needed more poetry in his life.
"Could I take you out for coffee sometime?" Julian asks. He feels something in his chest, egging him on. He's pretty sure it is his father telling him to go for it.
"To talk about your father or…" Summer trails off.
"I think I'd just like to get to know you better," Julian says.
She gives Julian her number and they make plans to meet in a couple of days. Summer says she has to leave, but Julian isn't quite ready to go yet, so they say goodbye. Summer shuts the door behind her as she goes. Julian breathes in deeply. The air smells like old books and Summer's perfume. It's a nice smell, he thinks. He could use more of both of those in his life.
He finds an empty storage box in the corner and fills it up with as much of his father's writing as it will fit. Julian hopes that Summer will help him understand the rest of it. He wants a chance to get to know her without focusing on his Dad's poetry, but maybe in a few weeks, or a few months, they can spend more afternoons digging through it.