The Glass Library continued, another “shi..y” first draft

I packed my papers and stacked the books on the table in front of me. The girl in the window library did the same. I watched some other library users amble around, pick up books and the people in the glass library did the same. Watching the world in the mirror had a numbing effect on my mind. I leaned back in my chair once more. That’s when I saw her. In the “Nature Sciences” section. The girl I had seen reflected in Dr. Hausner’s dark glasses the day he had talked to me about the experiments at the New York Ocean Institute. She was immersed in the study of a big red volume that she was balancing on her arms. She was wearing her school uniform again. She was not wearing shoes. I turned around to scan the library for her.
It is surprisingly difficult to translate a mirror image back as anyone will know who has ever tried to cut their hair in front of a mirror. I found the “Nature Sciences” section after some trial and error but the girl was not to be seen. I jumped up from my chair and walked quickly towards the shelves, expecting to find her replacing the volume but the aisle between the shelves was already vacated when I arrived. The girl was about my age and I very much wanted to make her acquaintance. Someone my own age, someone real to talk about the complicated grown-up world I had gotten myself entangled in.
I suspected that she knew Dr. Hausner. She must have been following our conversation or else I would not have seen her reflection in his glasses. Why did I not turn around? I had preferred to call her “the girl who lived in Dr. Hausner’s glasses” because I loved stories, any kind of story – but right now I needed someone real. I walked towards the end of the aisle and looked left and right but there was only an old lady perched on a foldable stool, the kind you use for field sketching. She was holding a legal pad and a pencil which made small scratching sounds on the paper as she was writing. She looked up as I checked the aisles and smiled. She was wearing thick owl glasses and looked fragile. I smiled back. She waved her hand, indicating that I should come over but I hesitated and wondered whether I should just respond with a wave as if I had misunderstood her intentions but then I reconsidered and walked over.
“Did you want to talk to me?”, I asked with my hushed library voice but she just continued to smile and pointed towards her ears first, then her mouth. She ripped the top page of her legal pad, folded it over twice and handed it to me, still smiling like a wise owl. I smiled back to acknowledge her gesture instead of saying thank you – but then I remembered Dr. Hausner’s explanation about blind sight and added “Thank you, Ma’m.” in my normal voice. I was glad I did because it immediately resolved a strange numbness in my mind and the old lady smiled at me as if she had guessed my train of thought. Then she started writing again.
For a moment I thought she would write another message for me but she just filled the page with fine lettering, turned it over to continue on the next page and seemed to have forgotten all about me. I said “Good bye, then”, and after waiting idly for another moment slowly took a right turn back into Natural Sciences and to my desk. If you think the normal thing to do would have been to immediately read the page she ripped off her legal pad, you might have a point. I am normally as curious as the next person but that day I just slid the folded yellow paper into my map, picked up my books and papers and left. I had had enough of enigmatic messages and hints and I wanted food more than anything even if it meant that I had to go home.
I kept looking for the barefoot girl as I crossed the library and down the wide spiral staircase but I didn’t see her and didn’t really expect to either. I would have to return some of the books the following day as they were for overnight loan only and I would look for her again then. The young guy who had been called “Honey” by the messy lady checked out my books and gave me a normal, actually quite nice smile. Satisfied with someone keeping within convention for once I returned the smile gracefully, left the library and walked home.

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