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The Librarian with a story.
I started flatly at the dingy New York flag that hung across the room of the depressing hollow library. Another day at work. Another day of my hopelessly boring life as the cranky old librarian, the role I wish I wasn’t destined to play. Because I, Lydia Opal Olin know almost for a fact that I could have been more. But me I was always a giver-upper. In school, at home, and in life. Never finished a single thing. Not in ballet, got to the recital and choked. Not in karate, got my brown belt and gave up. And not in life, went to college learned all that I felt necessary and then became the grouchy old librarian I was born to be.
So now I sit here in this old rotting chair and stare off into space, day dreaming of the life I could have had. When I looked up I saw a group of hoodlum looking boys roughhousing. I Instinctively got into my angry librarian character and began to shout, “Get out, or Shut up!” to the hoodlums who looked me up and down, put their hoods up and walked out, as one cracked an old lady joke. Damn kids.
A short Hispanic girl with a bad attitude stomped over to my counter and said, “I need this book for my English class or something,” she said in an annoyed voice.
“Can I have your name?” I said staring at the old dusty computer I was expected to be able to work.
“My whattt?” The girl asked smacking her gum and pulling on her ponytail.
“Your name,” I said in the same flat tone.
The girl told me her name. I had to ask how to spell it more then once. And slowly typed her first and last name into the computer while she continued to chomp on her strawberry smelling bubblegum. My long dry fingers slowly hit the keyword as I tried to find the right letters. Damn computers.
A few minutes later the girl’s book was checked out and she sauntered off still smacking her gum and twisting her ponytail. I was left alone in the moldy smelling almost empty library. But as I was picking up my crusty old copy of ‘The Great Gaspy’ a group of well-manicured girls waltzed into the room with their noses in the air and their thick heels clicking on the hard tile floor signaling their entrance. It was that group of girls obviously the group every school has. The ones that think they own the hallways and that you should move over for them. The ones that snicker, ‘sneak’ a look at you and swear they weren’t talking about you. And the ones who dress to impress no matter what the day or the weather is. Yes, it was those girls who walked through the library double doors and headed right for me.
The blond in the middle spoke first asking ever so nicely if they could stay in my library all period, with out permission of coarse. I put on my best grump librarian voice and spoke, “Why should you get more privileges than anyone else?” I said remembering back to my days in school and how badly girls like them treated me.
“Its just one period lady, come on?” The redhead on the right with a nasty attitude said while the others shook their heads in agreement.
“No. Now check out a book or get out of my library,” I said in my rudest librarian voice.
The girls rolled their eyes and skipped away, laughing hysterically and flipping their hair. I knew they were laughing at me, probably at my beak nose, or my scratchy voice and thin hair. Tears formed in my and rolled down my papery cheeks. I quickly turned around hoping no one had seen my tear-stricken eyes. I usually didn’t get so worked up over this sort of thing. But, those girls just brought back so many memories. Memories of high school and college. Mostly college. Of my brief but glorious few years with James. My old college boyfriend, the love of my life, I could still see his playful soft brown eyes, gone too soon. I think. James got drafted to Vietnam fresh out of college, I never saw him again.
I turned around looking at all the teens in the room, some laughing and smiling. Enjoying the best years of their lives that I had so ignorantly took for granted. I squeezed my eyes shut hoping to block out the pain. No luck. I obviously knew I had to change and that things weren’t just going to happen. I had to do something, and complete something, for once in my godforsaken life.
I abruptly stood up from my old creeky chair and started for the big double door with the bright red ‘EXIT’ sign above them. Once there I forcefully pushed open the doors and inhaled the clean fresh New York air. Today was the day. I was going on a search. A search to find James Michael Smith.