It’s freezing outside, and Austin’s building’s front door is like some sort of Nirvana, shining forth into the hardship and dusty toil of a Tuesday night. He’s walked twenty minutes from the library, where he spent six hours fighting with Cicero, until the Latin was swimming in front of his eyes. It takes two or three frustrating tries, numb fingers fumbling his keys, before he gets inside and breathes in warm air.
He makes for the stairs without even looking at the mailbox. Getting home has given him enough energy to jog up the first flight, but it fades pretty fast, and he takes the second at more of a trudge. He checks the time as he sorts through his keys again: eight forty-seven. Crap, he never had dinner, no wonder he feels so…extra-awful. He thinks about food, thinks that he’d maybe rather not.