Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Perfume of Other Worlds

Today's quickwrite was:

A student walks into the library/media center at lunchtime.  What is she/he thinking?  Worried about?  Dreading?  Hoping or wishing for? What are the risks/stakes for him/her? Show us in a paragraph or two.
Here's my take on it.

Even though there are no doors to barricade the world of the library from the rest of the school, there exists an invisible portal, an unmarked barrier that silences my footsteps and makes me gaze around myself to see if the air has changed noticeably.  It has, but not to my eyes.

It is my nose that detects the smell of information, the stink of tragedy, the perfume of other worlds, the fantastic odor of adventure around the corner.  I don't bother the librarian.  She only exists to me, the hunter of great stories, at the end of my journey - the final stop to confirm my choices.  She's a kind and helpful guide to others, those who might be tourists, but to me, a seasoned traveller of these stacks, she is a compatriot.  She nods and winks at me, continuing her conversation, her gesture a silent acknowledgment of our reader's pact. She knows that I am the most fruitful, at my best, when I work alone.

I follow my nose to the fiction section, breathing deeply of its well-thumbed pages and run my fingers along the shelf to caress each spine - some rough, some smooth, the sweet texture of cloth bindings, the smooth coolness of glossy paperboard, and the slight desparate cling of cellophane book covers.  My fingers revere them all.

Which lucky journey will be mine today?  Do I have a taste for a rollicking adventure story with pirates and vampires and demigods all chasing me to my doom?  Does the sweet certitude of a happy romantic ending appeal to my tongue?  By the pricking of my thumbs, does something wicked this way come?  Do I yearn for the comfort of rereading a favorite? Perhaps I should...wait.

There it is. 

I didn't know it would be here this quickly.  I thought it wouldn't make it to the library for another week at least.

How did no one before me notice this brand new, beautiful sequel?  It's just sitting there, shiny and smelling of crisp, untouched pages where the words have never been gobbled before.  Doesn't the librarian usually put all the new releases on top of the display shelves?  How did she miss this one?

Or did she?  Perhaps this is an Easter Egg that she has left for me to find.  She is crafty.  She'd have to be with all this wealth about her.  A generous dragon atop her literary hoard.

My quest is complete.  The prize is mine.  Now, to unwrap the story...who can wait?  I sink silently to the carpet and begin my next journey.

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