This place smells like my childhood. The hours and hours I’d spend here reading stories online, reading flaps of books, going to the bathroom, and then doing it all over again are almost indescribable. No one ever understood why I spent so much time in the library. Whenever there was something going on at home, or if I’d endured a hard day of schoolyard bullying, I knew I could come to the library and unwind. I had access to so many things, and the possibilities were endless even though I knew they weren’t. The computers allowed 6 one hour sessions, but after years of practically living here, I knew my way around the system. Still, the reminder at the top right corner of the screen was like an eviction notice breaking up the peace of a happy home. It appeared in bold, red letter telling me that I was no longer welcomed.
60min Remaining! …45min Remaining! Are You Saving Your Work? …20min Remaining! …FIVE MINUTES REMAINING. SAVE WORK NOW…IN TEN SECONDS, THIS COMPUTER WILL SHUT DOWN.
It was pretty tragic. I’d fascinate about spending the night here. I imagined that the staff here was my family. I’d forgo any food or water just to sit on the computer and…do nothing. Whether I was playing games, IM’ing the boy I thought I loved, reading stories on forums, or reading books in the corner, being here made me feel like I was normal. It was the only time I felt accepted. Everything around me was so…volatile then. I hated everything, I didn’t understand anything, and no one understood me. I’d just drown myself in words and read…and read…and read. I was so young. I was so fresh, and all I wanted to do was drown. I’d people watch and decide who those people were. I remember this one guy who was really weird. He had warts or lesions (I really don’t know) all over his face and hands and whenever he’d use the computer, he would sit extremely close. He’d stack about five, thick books beneath the keyboard and he’d type meticulously. I never understood him. I never understood why he did any of those things, but he was a familiar face and I looked for him each time I came. There was this woman with short brown hair, and she looked so cool. She typed really fast and sat very still. When she was done, she’d get up quickly, push her chair in neatly, and walk away…leaving her presence behind for me to wonder about her life. I’d spend hours on the computer, go downstairs and go look at all the Young Adult books on the shelves. I’d read synopsis’s about summer romances, young love, and girls riding in cars with boys. Things I thought I’d never do. I was pimply-faced, skinny little girl with an imagination bigger than this world and the library was my home. It was my friend, and it sheltered me. Nothing wrong could go on in here. Nothing bad could happen. I had books and internet access, I mean really, what could go wrong? On days off of school or weekends, my sister and I would come here in the morning and our mother would come and pick us up right as they were closing.
“Ladies and gentleman, the library is closing. Please save all work and make your way towards the nearest exit.”
Those words could make me cry. All they meant to me was that I had to enter the world of sharks and I would no longer be protected. My sister and I once devised a plan of bringing sleeping bags and a flashlight, and when they were about to close, we’d hide in the bathroom until everyone went home. Once the coast was clear, we’d come out and spend the night indulging in our favorite things. We’d be able to use the computer and read all night long. Laugh amongst ourselves about our devious scheme, share stories, websites, and books. It is so easy to be satisfied as a child. What happened to that? Years and years and years were spent in this library escaping. I feel like it raised me in a way. Each year, I’d get older, but my home would stay the same. The faces would stay the same, the air still stale as ever, yet familiar and soothing. The rules never changed, and I still checked out about 10 books at a time. We’d go home and have “reading parties” and see who could finish their book faster. Then, we’d do it all over the next day. Today, I write from the computer on the left side of the staircase. It’s been about five or six years since I’ve been year. Yet, at 20years old, I’m still running. I came here today to get away and to breathe and to set myself free, and in this moment, I’ve never felt so protected. It’s good to know that some things never change.
Time Remaining: 14:40. Are You Saving Your Work?