We have left the house.
At first our walking is clumsy, comical, even. The book is three yards ahead of me, talking nineteen to the dozen about its ideas, every single one of them lost on the breeze.
‘Slow down!’ I shout. ‘I can’t keep up!’
The book ignores me, marching on into the wind, regardless.
When I finally catch up with it, the book falls silent, like a teenager. Its pace slows, too. Now I am the one doing the cajoling, ever the anxious parent, impatient to get to wherever it is we are going.
I look behind me and find the book has stopped completely. It is sitting on a bench in the drizzle, its hood covering its eyes. I cannot be sure, but it looks as though it has been crying.
Realising it is pointless waiting to be invited to join it, I sit down next to the book.
We sit in silence for an age, drizzle pooling around our feet, dog walkers murmuring soft greetings as they pass. I notice the book is not wearing any socks. I find myself thinking: whose idea was this?
Finally I crack. ‘You OK?’
The book sits motionless. A large drop of rain is clinging to the rim of its hood, a miniature globe shrinking everything upside down.
The book spins round, its voice a sudden roar. ‘What do you think? What do you think? You should have just left me alone. That’s your problem: you never listen!’
With this, the book picks itself up from the bench and storms off into the distance. It has begun to hail.
We catch up again. The book is now calm, its stride purposeful rather than raging. No longer is it spouting gibberish; nor is its silence toxic.
‘We should do this again,’ it says. ‘It’s been fun. We could even do lunch. What would you say to lunch? You need to get out more.’