A Trip to the Library

A day that includes a trip to the library is never ordinary…


You check the clock on my car for the 10th time. You still have an hour before the library closes. That should be enough time. Still…

You glare angrily at the red light. As if it feels the sting of my gaze, it flashes green.

Finally.

A few more minutes and you pull into the library’s parking lot. Book bag – check. Library card – check. List of books – check. As you push open the doors, a burst of cool air hits you square in the face. You stop and admire the feeling of being back in my favorite place. The sound of pages turning and keyboards clacking fills the air. A deep breath reveals the smell of old books. You trail my hand appreciatively down book spines as you pass shelf after shelf.

A few books catch your eye and you stop to pick them up, admiring their covers. There’s a glossy new copy of Calculus for Dummies that might help you pass the midterms, and a thick book that’s full of Western short stories, and a book with a red bird on the cover that is, regrettably, written in another language. But they don’t hold your interest, so you place them back on the shelf and walk on.

You amble along in no particular hurry until you finally reach your favorite section in the library. A dozen new books are waiting for you to pick them up from an aisle rack. After careful examination, you choose a promising looking novel by a familiar author.

Three books. You promised yourself that you would only pick up three books this time. That would last you the whole week. As you walk down the aisle, you pull your list out of your back pocket. The first five books have already been checked out. You furrow your brow in frustration and hop up on the ladder. There’s one. You pluck it gently from the top shelf and hop down.

You find another book on the next shelf. That makes three. With a wistful glance back at the shelves you didn’t get a chance to investigate, you take your little pile of books over to an armchair and open the top one. You only meant to read the first few pages, ten minutes tops. T0e next thing you know a library worker is tapping you on the shoulder and telling you that the library is about to close.

You glance up at the wall clock. You’ve been reading for half an hour. Oh no. You’ll be late for dinner.

“Just a minute.”

The library worker humphs as you rush over to the catalog computer. There are a few books that you want to reserve. You’re in such a hurry that you don’t see the message that pops up on the screen. Two books are waiting for you at the front desk. You are genuinely surprised when the librarian at the check-out counter adds them to your pile.

You really should put a few books back. You were only supposed to check out three…But perhaps a couple more books wouldn’t hurt. 

“Thanks!”

You carefully place the books in your bag and rush out the door. The sun is already starting to drop in the sky. You pause as the door closes behind you, blinking heavily against the loss of silence and air conditioning, but you clasp your bag tighter and smile. You’re taking five new worlds home with you.

And you’ll be back next week.

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