"Words" by Zoran Živković [Read]
Publication in Twelve Collections and The Teashop, Polaris Press, 2005; PS Publishing, 2006
Reprint in Infinity Plus, December 2005
He had decided to buy the anthology because of the flower on the cover. As a plant expert he knew that such a flower did not exist, but that was the very reason it had appealed to him. He took the book to the cashier in a somewhat uneasy state. It seemed somehow unfitting for a man his age to show an interest in romantic verse. It was almost like buying a pornographic magazine. Luckily the salesgirl didn't take note of the title. All she did was look at the price and take the exact change he handed her.
He knew a thing or two about love, of course. Not from personal experience in this case, either, but was that necessary? Most likely people are born with such awareness. How else could it be? Nonetheless, when he set to reading the book, the unease from the store returned, despite the fact that he was alone. He even blushed. He only found relief with the thought that the anthology should be considered a handbook on love. Then everything became easier and quite pleasant.
He was surprised to find that the words in the book charmed him even more than the tender and exalted feelings. He suddenly became aware of something that had escaped his notice. Beautiful words exist. They weren't necessarily special or rare, rather ordinary words that were to be found in other books too. But for some reason or other they had never looked beautiful in the handbooks. Or rather, their beauty hadn't caught his eye.
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