opening day at the great library
you hurry down the hall to the great library, holding two finds that you hope will complete the collection in time for opening day. you burst through the door and then stop short, surprised to see the room milling with people in formal dress of various eras and cultures, socializing in low voices.
you head over to the great librarian, coming up behind her as you over hear her conversation with a small group of people. the man across from her is wearing the kind of ridiculous historical suit indicative of men who are accustomed to being seen as very important.
“i hope the position of great librarian is not causing you too much difficulty,” he says in an overly sympathetic tone bordering on condescension. he sweeps his gaze dramatically around the library and continues: “32 books is still a good effort even if it is not quite up to the standard. you musnt be too hard on yourself. not everyone can be expected to follow the path of greatness.”
you are about to interrupt and come to the librarians defense. after all, there were 35 books before, and you are bringing two new ones! but just before you get into her line of sight you are stopped short when she emits a shockingly musical laugh that rings through the low murmur of the library and cuts to your core. its the kind of laugh that holds your mind on the teetering knife edge of wondering whether the laugh is fake or if everything you thought you knew about this person is deeply wrong.
“why Thaddeus,” she says in a low voice with a smile. “32 books. i understand how one might come to that conclusion, if one were not a qualified scholar with access to the restricted section. alas, we cannot all follow the path of knowledge, and what would we do without our politicians?”
“how convenient it must be for you eminent scholars,” he replies, “to have this mysterious section where, i trust, you have access to all these wonderful books that the rest of us cannot see.”
“indeed,” says a third voice, a small woman who has the face of someone in her twenties and the terrifying bearing of someone in her third millennium. her face shows no particular expression, but in a way that is full rather than empty. “as a scholar myself, i am curious to see what the restricted section has to offer,” she says, gazing inscrutably at the librarian. “perhaps we two scholars can study together these mysterious books.”
the librarian blushes, presumably because there are only three books in the restricted section, bringing the total only up to 35. then she inhales sharply through her nose, and, you swear, scents the books you are holding. she whirls on you.
“great librarian,” you begin, “i have brought…”
“yes,” she interrupts, “you brought over some books from the restricted section to demonstrate for our colleagues, how thoughtful of you,” she says, trying to communicate her intentions to you while simultaneously devouring the new books with her eyes.
“yes i see, only one is from the restricted section,” she continues as she takes the book out of your hands and her eyes take in the papyrus scroll carefully balanced on top. “an ancient scroll that provides historical evidence for the existence of Christ,” her voice tightens as she tries to keep up the charade. “an incredibly rare and valuable book which you of course would never touch without gloves on, which is why you brought it over balanced on top of this three-fold bible from our metaphysical section,” she says.
“may i?” asks the possibly-young-possibly-immortal woman, holding out a hand and turning her inscrutable gaze full blast on the librarian. the librarians tightness suddenly dissolves. youve never seen her hand over a book so willingly.
“34 books ive seen, then,” the pompous man continues. “still a good effort. and of course a mere politician like myself could not be expected to account for restricted books that are reserved for such knowledgeable scholars. at least the scifi section looks decent, unfortunate for us crime solvers that the mystery section is looking a bit thin, but of course i wouldnt expect your average library to have a good murder mystery on hand.”
the librarian looks him straight in the eye, and without breaking eye contact she reaches into the aether, pulls out a book titled “show me a dream”, and hands it to him. the pompous man tries to hide his surprise as he takes the murder mystery without thinking.
“you are very impressive indeed”, the inscrutable woman comments. “i would love to see your restricted section, do be a dear and show me the way”. she takes the librarians arm and they go off together, leaving you without a word. the pompous man harrumphs and heads off in the other direction.
“hey!” you say to no one in particular. “good work, thanks for the books, couldnt have done it without you,” you say to yourself, and then shrug.
you look around properly for the first time since you arrived. the books do look very happy on their shelves. you decide to be proud of the work you did, whether or not anyone else sees it. it wasnt easy, but the effort you put in every day has made you a better dreamer. the library can have the books. the important things you get to keep for yourself.
Books in the Great Library: