'....Russell Square anyway. No reason whatever that he shouldn't be there, of course. But he lived in Highgate; and he had been coming from the directions of the Queensberry Hotel.
The Russell Square Gardens have three wonderful fountains at their centre. Water, shot upwards in high single jets, falls onto huge concrete discs, raised only a few inches above the surrounding paving, and flees away over their concave surfaces into a narrow channel beneath their rims. They are unusable in any but the stillest weather, for even a light breeze fans the falling water away, drenching the paths and benches. Although it was late for such things, they were still working now, and we stopped to look at them without a word.
The westering sun shot through the upper zones of the planes, picking out the flaky pastel trunks and branches amid the motionless green and gilt of the leaves. Below was a dusky gloom through which people moved, breathing the warm, dusty summer smell. And the fountains pounded upwards, as if to cling to the light, and fell with only the slightest wavering of pulse onto the wide grey discs in front of us.
Phil must have seen them far more often than I had, but he seemed content to stand and watch. Their mesmerising, impersonal play was a relief. Then first one, and then another, in three downward jumps, was switched off. A painful feeling of emptiness and ordinariness came over me. I turned ruefully to Phil, and looked him up and down for several seconds. As we walked on I wondered if I shouldn't have used the moment to put an arm around him, even to kiss him.
As we crossed the road to the hotel, though we both became more tense, there was a perceptible shift of power; we were entering his territory. 'We'd better go round the back,' he said. 'We're not supposed to be our front when we're off duty.'
'No, sure,' I said: then enquired, 'When are you back on duty again?' If it was any moment now, it would alter the whole imaginary campaign.
'Oh, from midnight,' he said. 'That's why I'm here. I don't live here, you see, but when you're on night duty they give you a room. I'm on nights all this month.'
'I see. Where do you live normally?' I had a hunger to know these facts and to read things into them.'
So that's it for now friends. Hopefully, I will have finished this book before the end of the week. In case I'm still piled with work and not able to squeeze out much reading time, maybe you'll get another glimpse into another page of this book. But I wouldn't want you to wait for that. Go on and grab a copy...this one's surely a great read.... Till then.....
- Debolina Raja Gupta