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To See the Stars
She sat between the shelves of the library, her nose buried in an old, time-worn copy of Lewis Carrol’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. She’d originally come to finish a term paper that was due that Friday; but the paper was done and the books had been too compelling to resist. She absently pushed some stray hairs that fell from her ponytail out of her eyes as she read, completely absorbed in the novel. Engrossed in Alice’s impossible escapades, she hardly noticed when the librarian got up from her desk and walked out the door.
She did notice, however, when the librarian left, locking the door and turning off the lights on her way out.
“H-Hey!” She looked up from her book, squinting in the darkness and getting to her feet. Closing her book and running over to the door. She grasped at the handle, only to find that it was locked. Cursing under her breath she stomped back to her corner, grabbed her book from the floor and put it back on the shelf.
“Way to go, Stupid!” She remarked, hitting herself upside the head. “Get yourself locked inside the library overnight! Smart thinking!” Groaning, she rubbed her eyes; trying to get them accustomed to the darkness. Finally she decided to head in the direction of the windows, hoping to find one unlocked.
She hadn’t gone more than a few steps, when she banged her shin on the corner of a desk. Swearing, she bent down to examine her leg.
“Ow! Crud. Who left that desk there?!” She muttered, rubbing her shin. Thankfully she didn’t feel any blood on her leg, so the damage done couldn’t be all that bad. However, there probably would be some bruising tomorrow morning.
Tomorrow morning. She stood up, squinting at a shimmer of moonlight. I’ll be waking up HERE tomorrow unless I can find a way out. Pausing for a moment, she considered her options. Either find a way out…or stay in the library. Alone. Overnight. Actually, she mused, having the library all to myself wouldn’t exactly be such a bad thing…
She finally decided that staying the night wouldn’t be all that bad, and began walking in the direction of the only source of light she could find, being extremely careful not to bump into anything else. The library had one major window; a huge, clear-as-crystal wall that sent the moonlight streaming in and reflected it across the empty shelves of the library. If she squinted hard enough, she could’ve sworn that she could see the light dancing across the walls of the library.
She sighed, sitting down on the window seat and leaning her head against the glass of the window; her breath fogging her view of the campus.
It’s actually kind of nice… She thought, her chin resting on her knees as she stared out at the sleeping world.
It’s like I’m the only one the whole world…no one can bother me…no one can reach me…it’s nice…
But she had felt this way before. Subconsciously, she thought back to a night when she was about fourteen years old.
She had been sitting in the den with her younger sister and her father, skimming the pages of one of her school textbooks. However, after her sister went to bed she left the house and ran out the back door as fast as her legs could carry her. She couldn’t stay alone in the same room with her father, he’d already done her enough damage as it was. Her mother had left when she was eight and her sister barely two, leaving them in the care of their drunken, careless scumbag of a father. And besides, he hardly cared where she was anyway, and would probably assume that she had gone to bed along with her sister; he wouldn’t care either way. He only paid attention to her younger sister because she demanded it; her sister practically lived for attention. But she was different. She went out of her way to avoid it, which made her the target of her peers’ (and occasionally her father’s) ridicule. All she knew that she had to get away. Get away from the insults, the chiding, the taunting, teasing, just get away from everything…
She ran to an ancient oak tree that grew in the middle of her backyard and began to climb. That tree was her refuge; the place she went when she needed to escape reality. And right now, an escape was exactly what she needed. She climbed the trunk and perched herself between two sturdy branches, stopping momentarily to catch her breath before continuing her climb. She climbed higher and higher until the branches grew too flimsy to hold her weight, and so she grabbed hold of the trunk and stood up amongst the sky. Standing at the top of the tree she looked out over the horizon, hoping to catch a glimpse of the stars. What she saw, however, disappointed her. The street-lamps and the lights in people’s windows created a milky haze that almost obstructed her view of the night sky.
Someday… She thought, staring out at the horizon
Someday, I’m gonna climb to the top of the world, and I’m gonna be able to see the stars as clear as day. And it’ll just be me, and the stars, and the wind. And nobody will be able to find me: I’ll stay up there forever, just me and the universe. And no one’ll be able to find me ever again…
She sniffed, wiping the tears out of her eyes as she tried to catch a glimpse of the stars…
Back in the library her eyes unconsciously began to tear up, remembering that night not so long ago. It had been nearly six years since that night. But sitting in the pitch-black library and looking out at the nearly deserted college campus, it still felt like she was fourteen years old and back in that old oak tree behind her house.
Yawning, she leaned her head against the glass of the window and closed her eyes, the memory still echoing in her mind.