When you are male and young, there is something very disconcerting about the whisper of nylons moving between rounded feminine thighs in the silence of a nearly deserted library.
The faintest whiff of an essentially musty perfume materializes out of the overall mustiness of the looming stacks of books, distracting you completely from the words on the page in front of you.
The rustle of clothing on clothing traduces the determinedly scholarly atmosphere with subtle sensuality that is not at all impaired by the mere fact that the clothing is a female’s uniform that belongs to one of the allied NATO powers.
The face, beneath short-cropped copper hair, is flat and Slavic and young, and very formally military of expression. But the ankles are slim and lovely, the calves delightful, the knees photogenic — and there are plenty of knees in this old world that are not.
All revealed as she sits with a book and crosses her attractive legs, nylons whispering seductively, as the skirt rides up, up. The vision scampers eagerly up, up, up — to the frill of a very non-regulation garter, revealed by a certain drape of the short serge skirt.
She wriggles in her chair, almost unconsciously tugging at her hem-line, trying to get it to behave, as if she absolutely feels the flick, flick of my eyes across the room.
I don’t speak a single word of the language of the nation her severely tailored uniform represents. Who am I kidding? Even if I did, I wouldn’t have the slightest idea what to say to her without perhaps starting an international incident.
The book I was reading might as well be written in Sanskrit now. I cannot make the words out anymore, completely distracted. But I will have to carry it to the desk and check it out anyway, and carry it out of the library back to my barracks in this small French garrison town.