It isn’t a book yet; it’s only blank pages. He can only imagine it’s a book, and he imagines it one letter, one word, one page at a time. He imagines someone reading it someday, thinking they’re reading a book, not noticing all the empty spaces on and between the pages; imagines them doting on one word or another—the same words, perhaps, he paused and considered carefully before writing them down.
He has seen people reading books as he sat in the bookstore’s café; seen them emptying the pages with their eyes. He has emptied cup after cup of coffee while filling up his book, phrase by phrase, interrupted only by parenthetical thoughts and subordinate self-mutterings.
He can usually see out the window from where he sits, but some days, like today, he sits facing away, sits facing all the other patrons, all his potential readers, and on days like this he works harder than ever to find one perfect word to put next to the next-to-perfect word.