After having a bit of a late start to my day, my mother came into my room with a parcel in her hand. I opened it, discovering that it was “The Best of Me” by Nicholas Sparks. I was so excited to see this; not only because I have been waiting to read this book, but because it was the edition that I have been looking for all over the internet!
Later on during the day I was journeying to university, when I started reminiscing the time in my life I was so attached to his style of writing and his stories. I remembered being 15 years old and printing out a list of all his novels and short stories, researching on the background and inspiration of these stories as well as how they have shaped the way I used to behave. I remembered a conversation I once had with a relative about whether it is better to purchase new books or order them at the library “and just wait.” She preferred the latter, of course. This then triggered something else in my memory. When I was 16, in my final year of high school, I asked my school-librarian why we don’t have any novels written by Sparks. I had a good relationship with both librarians, and I would always raise anything that was on my mind. She said she would order them for me, and I gave a list of all the books I wanted. Satisfied, she told me that I would have to wait for a few weeks. Great. Now I had to wait.
Me being the impatient 16-year-old I was, I would ask them frequently if it had “arrived yet.” I started sounding like an annoying parrot, asking them every day, but they always kept their cool. On the day that it was *supposed* to arrive, I rushed into the library with my friends at break time, towards the back on the left where the “S” section was and started scanning through. All my friends were waiting towards the front, talking to the librarians. Seeing that there wasn’t a single book that I was expecting to see, I felt my eyes begin to tear up and stormed to the front desk. “WHY HAVEN’T THEY COME YET? I HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR SO LONG AND YOU SAID THEY’LL COME!” I can’t even remember what else was said, I began stuttering and starting my sentences over again and again. She was just staring at me blankly. As I was trying to complete my sentence, she bent down under the desk and lifted a box. She opened it up and my friends started giggling. I was wondering what on EARTH was going on. Was anyone even listening to me?! I felt like I was talking to a brick wall. Out came the following: The Last Song, A Walk To Remember, Safe Haven, The Notebook, The Wedding and several others. I froze. I then screamed and got told off for disturbing others. My my, I don’t even remember what happened next. I felt like jumping over the desk and hugging the librarians (even the one who would just sit there shaking her head every time you would ask if the library can stay open for at least 15 minutes longer for one day so I can finish my work!!). My friends knew of this, and they played along. I kept twitching my nose at them throughout the day, pretending to be annoyed but then laughing it off because I was ever so excited to start reading!
As I sit here today, 4 years on, I think of my school-librarians as being my shadow during the hours I would spend in the library. In the last 2 years of high school, I would go before my morning lessons, break-times, lunch-times and sometimes after school as well to revise, work on some homework or just read. I began to spend more time there, simply because I enjoyed the silence which I used to hate as a 14 year old. I never had a close relationship with them. We never spoke that much, but they always welcomed me so warmly and I would always greet them on my way inside and we would wish safety to each other on my way out. I began to see my friends less, but I saw myself more. I saw myself begin to get comfortable with my own self, with the way I would think and organise my time and activities. Even up to this day, I am a maniac when it comes to planning my days hour by hour and it all started in that very library I would share with those two women.
According to the Oxford Dictionary, a librarian is “a person in charge of or assisting in a library.” They were not just limited to that. They were not just assisting in a library, but they were assisting me in my academic progress. If it wasn’t for their rules and regulations which I would never understand for the first 3-4 years of my time at that school, I would have never gotten used to the silence and absence of trouble-makers which allowed me to organise my life and my priorities. During sixth form I used the library almost every day as the librarian was also very engaging and friendly also, during university – not so much. It’s just not personal anymore.
I realised from this reflection that sometimes it is not the place which makes you feel at home, but the people also. I left the home in which I found myself almost 4 years ago, but I will never leave the memories which I hold close to my heart up to this day. I wonder if they are still working there, in that room, or have they moved on to find something different for themselves. I wonder that if I was to ever return, would I be disappointed to see new faces, or would I quiz them to see if they remember me and what I used to get in trouble the most for? Either way, I hope they are happy and I pray they are safe.
Until next time,