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He mumbles to himself as he opens the door to the book store and shuffles to the nonfiction section, “Montgomery, Alabama. Juneau, Alaska. Phoenix, Arizona…” He finds the two books he is looking for on the same shelf: the biographies of Abraham Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson. On his way to the counter, he notices a thick book on display. Inside he sees dense text and on the navy blue cover reads “Everything You Need to Know to Be Smart” in bold yellow lettering.
“Where can I find this?” he asks the clerk. She points to a nearby shelf and he scampers over hungrily to claim his future and reputation.
On his way home, with his nose buried deep in the knowledge in his grasp, he passes trees with leaves that burn with passion and a woman with sunny smile who holds her daughter’s hand as tenderly as a flower. But his eyes have time only for the dates of wars. He steps over the outreached arm, like a twig, of a poor man with a cardboard sign and a crooked back. His heart only has space for shapes and numbers.
Two years later he knows everything. He sits by his grandfather in his living room and shows him the pages of his book he has been careful not to tear or the fear of losing his wisdom.
“Ask me anything, grandpa,” he says with a coldness the young shouldn't want, his proud mind looking up expectantly. “Ask me anything about the world. I know it all.”
“Tell me, Adrian, do you love me?"
And he watched as the boy on the couch grew into an old man with wrinkles at the corners of his eyes and smiled and said, “Yes. I love you.”

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