Her eyes drew to the dark gray jacket hung on the wall. The draped jacket made her imagine that only the old man’s exterior self had been left there, decent-enough on the surface, yet deprived of its soul. The effect seemed to be doubled by the black trousers hanging from under the jacket, as if the old man had put them together as a coordinate. He had even casually placed a beret over the collar of the jacket. She felt that if she lifted the beret, the old man’s face would pop out―the face that looked like a crumbling bar of washing soap. Resisting the temptation to lift the beret, she moved on toward the desk.On the table was a copy of the Bible that the old man was transcribing and an open, widely ruled notebook one would expect to see grade schoolers using. Had he finished copying all of the biographies, all of the twenty-odd volumes? Probably, he was not transcribing the Bible out of any sort of religious faith. He was not Christian, nor did he have any other religion. She found it rather ridiculous and useless for a non-Christian to transcribe the Bible. Especially for a person with a hand that trembled terribly, a hand he couldn’t even use to spoon his duck-bone broth properly.
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