Thursday July 23rd, 2015

The exercise:

Write something which takes place in: the library.

I ended up doing some tilling of the paths in the garden this morning, though not as much as I'd hoped since the sprinklers were recently on in both the strawberry patch and in our vegetable patch. It was a good start at least.

This afternoon I ran a few errands in town while literally everyone else here was napping. Then we had a big dinner of chicken, corn on the cob, cut fresh veggies, and green beans. Our guests then did up some (gluten-free) smores on their camp stove, which went over... quite well with Max.

I'm not sure I've ever seen him that hyper that late in the day.

We took it easy for the rest of the evening, with Kat taking the night off from garden work. It was quite nice.

Sadly our guests will be departing tomorrow morning but it's been a great visit. And my sister Sue is coming to see us next week, so we won't be without guests for too long.


The silence was oppressive. I could hear the kid on the other side of the room (and it was a very, very big room) turn each page of his book. It was like listening to two pieces of sandpaper rubbing together at regular intervals.

And the breathing.

It was like everyone in the library had their own unique pattern and noises. The nose whistler? Searching the stacks on the east wall. The nervous gulper? Still trying to work up the courage to talk to the girl in the grey hoodie (who clears her throat somewhere between five and fifty times each minute).

I just couldn't take it anymore, okay? I tried. I wanted to ignore it all and just study for my exam. But every single noise was like fingernails on a chalkboard.

Yes, it was that bad. Do you understand now?

Do you understand why I started screaming?


Greg said...

That sounds like a productive day, even if it wasn't quite as much so as you'd planned. At least things got started and errands got run, and it sounds like you had a little break from entertaining Max as well, which must have been nice! Until he got a little hyper, anyway ;-)
Heh, I remember trying to work in a supposedly-quiet place like your library; I found it much easier to work in the common room where, although it was noisy, it was effectively white noise and easy to push into the background. And where people could buy me coffee in exchange for help with their homework :) The throat-clearers still get to me though when I run into them, and we had a guy at work some years ago who was exactly as bad as the girl you describe. I never started screaming, though I was tempted to strangle him almost as often as he cleared his throat.

The library
The smell of damp earth was suffocating, almost literally so. Isabella blew air through her nose, trying to clear the smell, wishing that it didn't bring back memories of being buried alive quite so strongly. Her fingers were already tensing and contracting into claws, ready to start scrabbling at the walls around her and dig her way to freedom, and she could feel sweat beading on her forehead. The small of her back was clammy too, and she had to resist the urge to adjust her underwear which was also being affected by the sweat.
"This is the library," said the short, hairy man in front of her. And he was short: he was practically hobbit-sized and Isabella (who was barely five-six in her silk-stockinged feet) could have leaned forward and rested her elbows on the top of his head as though she were waiting to be served at a bar. He was also covered, except for a small patch of clear skin on his face, with short black wiry hair, dense enough to resemble an animal's fur coat. His nose was snout-like, flattened out and twisted slightly, and his eyes were tiny and set deep in his head, underneath a forehead that jutted out like it was protecting his feet from rain. HIs mouth was... just horrible; as tight as a sphincter and there were hints of extra rows of tiny, sharp teeth in there. He was, in her opinion, exactly right to be called a Moleman.
"How is this a library?" asked the woman Isabella was escorting, and Isabella's heart sank. Exactly the wrong attitude to take when you were visiting someone else's domain.
"Because it's where we keep the things we read," said the Moleman, his voice whistly and his sibilants sharp. "What do you use libraries for? Defecation?"
There was a sharp intake of breath, and Isabella immediately put her hand out and rested it warningly on the other woman's arm. "She's a little new to all this," she said. She squeezed the arm, knowing that the other woman would want to speak, and mercifully the message got through. Silence followed her words.
"Fine," said the Moleman eventually. "You can read what you like. You have two hours, then I'll be back."
Isabella shuddered at the thought of two hours in what felt like an unusually spacious grave, but she thanked the Moleman anyway, and waited till he'd shuffled off through the tunnels.
"What is there to read in here?" asked the other woman, her voice petulant, almost spoiled.
"Their books," said Isabella. "Only they write them in terms of smell. Did you remember to bring a notepad and paper? I'm going to have to dictate to you, I think."

morganna said...

Hushed, still
And silent, the books
Rustle, each in its place
Humans move through the palpable
Quiet, gathering up similar books.
Together, the books begin to
Warp the space-time fabric
And slide away

Marc said...

Greg - good for you on resisting the screaming and strangling methods of coping with your coworker! Though I did notice you referred to him in the past tense, so I'm not convinced you didn't find some other way to deal with him...

Love your description of the Moleman. Isabella does have some interesting contacts, doesn't she?

Morganna - that is some lovely work. The imagery is especially strong in this one, with 'humans move through the palpable quiet' perhaps my favorite example.

terfle said...

"When in doubt, go to the library," Hermione, patron saint of nerds, always says. So I go.

I wander through the stacks. I sort through books. I flip through card catalogs.

I look for my answer.

I realize that my answer is in the looking.