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Reading Between The Lines
As I sat in my own little corner in the library that afternoon, with the sun rays dancing across my face and the books on the shelves, I couldn't help but smile. The comforting smell of old books that have been read, read, read and re-read a plethora of times. Something so simple and familiar about it. Sitting in the best spot in that old building, I turned page after page letting the words seep into my brain. In the back of the building, behind the last shelf I will sit and let the afternoon sun drape itself on me. The small dust particles danced in the air as I got distracted from my reading and looked at some books on the surrounding shelves that caught my eye. How could I possibly be the only youth here? The old librarian was my only company and she didn't even acknowledge me. With a deep sigh, I turned another page.
"Z" I heard someone say. I looked up to a boy standing there with his thick rimmed glasses slipping ever so slowly down the ridge of his nose.
"Pardon?" I asked.
"Z... for Zanderman. You're sitting in front of it." Realizing I had my back against one of the shelves, I moved out of his way.
"Sorry..." I apologized, "I wasn't really paying attention. I kinda got -"
"Sucked away into a fictional realm?" He asked, pushing his glasses up his nose. A single sun ray bounced off his lenses and shined right in my eyes.
"Sorry..." he apologized stooping down out of the sun rays to retrieve his book. I leaned to one side allowing him to reach for the book. Pulling out the book, along with a copious amount of dust, he blew off the cover and opened it up. Unexpectedly, and uninvited, he sat down beside me... Not that I particularly minded.
"This hasn't been checked out since nineteen ninety-eight." He said matter-of-factly. He looked up at my with joy, like a child who had just found the jackpot on the Easter egg hunt. We locked eyes. His were unlike any I had ever seen. His right eye had emerald green on the top half of his iris and chocolate brown on the bottom half. His left was simply the inverse, brown on top, green on bottom. He realized he had been staring and looked back at the book.He ran his hand over the top of his ear like a girl would when tucking a strand of hair behind her ear. I dropped my gaze back to my book and bit my lip.
"I'm Axle by the way." He said offering a hand for me to shake.
"Guess." I said, shaking his hand. Obviously confused, he looked at me, puzzled and perplexed.
"My name is Guess." I said, clarifying. Realizing he was still holding my hand, he let go and ran his hand over his ear again.
"I like your glasses." I said trying to break the ice.
"Thanks," he said, "they're bifocals, better than having to wear regular reading glass and taking them off then putting them back on and so on and so forth." He pushed them back up the ridge of his nose.
"I really think I need glasses, I have to strain my eyes to read clearly."
“Here, try these on.” he said taking off his glasses. I moved my hands preparing to take the glasses from him, but instead of handing them to me he carefully placed the on my face himself.
“How about now?” he asked. I looked at the book to see that the words were unbelievably clear.
“Amazing!” I said, turning back to look at him. He gave a small smile as we just stared at each other for a while. He began to blush and dropped his gaze to the book I had been reading and ran his hand over his ear again; an innocent and adorable idiosyncrasy.
“That’s a good book.” he said pointing to my hard covered book.
“Yeah, it is… I’m dying to know what happens.”
“You’ll have to read the entire series to find out.” Perplexed, I looked at the book, “That’s the first book in the trilogy.” he stated.
“Oh, I had no idea.” I had no clue how I could have overlooked that. “Well, I’m almost finished with this one, so I’ll have to go check out the second one.”
“There’s one part in that book that I love.” he said.
“What part?” i asked.
“How about I show you?” he took the book from me and started to flip through the pages. I felt my phone began to vibrate.
“I’ll be right back.” I said. I slowly walked to the somehow always vacant room on the other end of the library.
“Hello?” I answered. It was my other calling to let me know she’d be there to pick me up within fifteen minutes. I hung up and walked back to the shelves where Axle and I had been sitting. I found my book propped up on the shelf. I hadn’t heard the ancient rusty door open signaling his departure… where had he gone? The book he came to check out was placed back on the shelf from where he had pulled it from. I flipped through the book, hoping he had left a note of some sort. Perplexed, confused and somewhat sad, I picked up the book andwas ready to head for the check-out counter. Upon standing up, a spider felt compelled to visit me by landing on my face. I bushed it off with the least amount of grace any human could posses. Slightly disturbed by the spider on my face, I dropped my book. It fell to the floor with a large thud. I picked it up and glanced at the page. Clearly underlined with pencil was the following passage:
“You made fiction reality. You made a troubled soul find peace. You gave me hope in humanity. Never will I forget that moment of only you and me…”
Looking to the floor, I saw a folded piece of paper. I unfolded it to read the message:
What an unusual name... but so sweet on the tongue to say. Never before have I met someone like you: someone who understands me without saying a word. Come back to the library next Saturday. Meet me at our place behind the shelves.
Round Lake, Illinois
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