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In a Library
Students trickle into the school library before their sports practices after school, still abuzz with chatter about last period’s impossible geometry test or last night’s game. They go to their respective tables, most look diligent at work, but the library isn’t just known as a place to study; it’s a community. Everyone has their niche: the thing they do, their purpose in that community, their own story.
A sophomore girl enters the library after everybody else, her arms crossed, a condescending glance on her face, looking up and down the isles. No doubt she’s looking for her boyfriend, the notorious lady’s man. She moves past the tables where everyone else is sitting with their friends, her head held high, masking her self consciousness.
A girl sitting in the poetry isle reading T.S. Elliot’s The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock contemplates life and the meaning of the poem. In the room the women come and go, talking of Michelangelo. The stupidity and ignorance of her peers enters her thoughts as she watches a freshman boy chase a girl around shelves Dewey Decimal system 100. She sighs in discontent.
Sophomore boys, all on the track team, their language that of a sailor, gravitate towards the computers. They give each other high fives for no apparent reason. What they’re talking about is barely distinguishable, perhaps something about an English assignment.
Four boys and one lacrosse girl, wearing baggy sweatpants and a black tank top, crowd the area near the windows, an ideal socializing spot. One could question the girl’s morals as she sits on the arm of a chair leaning over provocatively in the direction of a boy, a notorious lady’s man.
A junior sneaks up on her studious friend preparing for the AP English exam she has tomorrow. Her first worry at the moment is whether she’s prepared for such a long and important test and the surprise from a friend does not faze her. She wonders if her essays will suffice.
A senior boy approaches his sophomore girlfriend’s best friend, originally there to ask about the whereabouts of his girlfriend. He asks the friend what she’s reading-The Raven, by Edgar Allen Poe- but their conversation drifts and they share laughter. A football jock and a book lover, different ages, but they care for the same thing.
Juniors sit in the beat up armchairs that unspoken rules dictate are reserved for upperclassmen. They talk about possibilities of who they will ask to Prom and the art of rejecting someone without hurting their feelings. A girl picks at the fraying fabric of her chair, silently hoping that the boy sitting in the chair across from her will ask her instead of the others he is listing.
A group of girls in track, a senior, two sophomores and a freshman, laugh as they leave the library for varsity track practice. A sisterhood formed during cross country and track seasons. The senior promises to keep in touch with her underclassmen friends when she’s at Princeton next year.
The librarian shuts down the computers as most of the students leave for their 3:15 practices. Soon the library will be empty and she will go home to her equally empty apartment to watch last night’s episode of Hawaii 5-0.
A girl writing down what she sees in blue pen in her green assignment notebook hopes that no one comes and looks over her shoulder and sees that her planner is nothing more than a graveyard for her ideas. Few are immortalized in word documents named random things like ‘History Stuff’ and ‘Hockey’ in the hopes that no one will read the romance stories that she never finished. She scribbles down something as she rushes off to meet her friends for a softball meeting.
The janitor on the night shift picks up trash left under the tables in the library. He turns the lights off, locks up and returns the crumpled twenty dollar bill he found near one of the tables to the office. A believer in the affects of karma, he returns home to his fiancé optimistic that things will finally go his way.
The librarian that comes back the next morning, bright and early. She writes the quote of the day on the board behind the check out desk, checks her emails and puts out the newspapers, eagerly awaiting another day. She forces a smile as the first students come in and pass her without a word.