She would read all day. She thought it was calming, in contrast to the woods, the spa, or the beach… especially the beach. She could find all those scenarios in here novels anyhow, she deliberated. She began to ruminate a lot recently. She would delve into her own thoughts and become lost within them, trapped like a genie in a bottle, but free to explore. Everything was abstract within her minds, distorted like one of Dali’s paintings, or a later Picasso. She did not demur though, for it did not scare her – some people fear their minds as they are afraid to reach within. Luckily, she had not worried about what she would find and the books aided her in her search.
There she was, in the library, in the late evening. It was nine at night, she presumed, but did not know. She never showed up in a punctual fashion, the books would always be there and there was no need for a routine. Class at the University started at a certain time, it was strict, lacked freedom, and all of the readings were assigned, forced on the student body. Here, in the library, Lydia could roam independently and without a specific reason behind it. She would meander up and down the aisle ways and pass some paperbacks she had already read, or something that disinterested her, like stories about wealth or fame or biographies on the rich and autobiographies about celebrities. Sometimes she would let her hand glide over the bounded backs of the hardcover’s, carefully caressing the fine casings – one after the other. Being there, around the literature and scholarly works lifted a weight from Lydia’s shoulders. There was no essence of time when she wandered in the stories that were written so delicately.
Lydia grabbed no book in particular off of the shelves. She embraced the shielded words as she comfortably placed the hardback under her armpit and headed for a place to sit. Lydia may have not been a young adult of stern organization but she always sat in the same place. She headed up the stairs that were a mere few feet away from where she had grabbed her book and watched the bland walls move while she walked up the stairwell. They were painted grey, an ugly color, or just repulsive for a library, it was a color that excited none of the senses and pushed on goers away from the welcoming doors. On one level she was glad. The color kept the bothersome people away. Those people only came in to chat and gossip. She was not one for the spreading of rumors despite her inclinations to whisper about the true aspects of personality. Perhaps she was a bitch, but she was a happy one.
Lydia had reached the fourth floor and, unlike the previous stories, the walls were a brighter grey because not so many people traversed up there. There were no scuff marks or odd patches of white paint to cover up scratches like the molding that filled the holes in the partitions downstairs. On the fourth floor it was quiet. Of course the other floors were as well, the library only promoted tranquility, but it was an odd silence, a peace that is found like in the middle of the redwoods. Yet she would not go to the fourth floor. Instead, Lydia would head up the last set of stairs to the door that was never kept locked, rather left open by just a smidge. For some reason this door was painted white, but not like a white that children found in their Crayola boxes. The white was similar to the hue of a perfectly formed cloud, the kind that shapes and figures could be found in, the types that the religious believed God was present above. There had been maintenance tape left wrapped around the railings of the top of the stairwell, keeping people out. Lydia had always just walked over it, it was that simple.
As she peered through the door she could a feel a brisk gust of wind through the crack. The breeze was warm and the night sky was shaded dark violet and delphinium blue. Since she lived inland from the ocean the sky was always fuller, meaning that the stars were as prevalent as ever in the Oregon firmament. Lydia finally pranced through the doorway and sauntered around on the rooftop of the library in her tight black jeans, little brown leather boots, black jacket to match, and loose fitting semi see-through white shirt. Her hair was long, and a sandy brunette color like her father’s once was but complemented by a shiny copper necklace that her mother gave her as a child, before she never saw her again.
Prior to Lydia sitting down to read her book on the lawn chair that she had once managed to carry up to the rooftops after hours (she was a menace in terms of social norms), she pulled out a pack of cigarettes from her left jacket pocket and tried to light one up with one of the three matches left in the box she also had stashed in the same pocket. She lit the bastard up on her second try when she finally turned her face away from the wind. She smoked for what seemed like a day or two, but what was really twenty minutes or so. She inhaled slowly and let the smoke linger before it was swept away by Mother Nature’s breath. She was the real bitch when she wanted to be.
She stood along the edge of the rooftop near a large vent. The metal was flimsy and the aeration always made the contraption make annoying sounds from time to time, a sort of wouh wouh wouh that was similar to a sheet of metal being shaken by a rowdy teenager. Anyhow, she had been looking down below at the pathways that were dimly lit at this time, whatever time it may have been. Whenever she looked the streets were empty of people. Her novel would take care of that though, so she walked over to the lawn chair that was made of cheap aluminum and strips of threaded plastic that were colored red white and blue for America’s sake. She sat and rested and read the first few chapters.
Days passed by as she flipped from page to page, reading about a troubled young child who is torn between the eager clasps of both parental figures. The child finds their emotional stability elsewhere, in the homes of friends and teachers, but after a male teacher got too close the plausibility of such ended rapidly. From there the choices were family feud or running away. The next chapter of the character’s life would entail a decision to live independently, free from any guardians. The child would earn a GED and barely make rent with some roommates they had met after noticing a paper advertisement posted on a wooden street pole, the kind where you can tear the tabs off and keep them. Rent was paid through some unmentionable things, things that made Lydia quiver, like prostitution and drug slinging. The character had no choice, despite how disgusted they may have been or how many times they were beaten or thrown in jail. But, much like Lydia, the individual would apply to college and get in. As an independent, one can gain a lot of benefits from the government, including large amounts of grants and financial aid; she knew that all too well before she had recently dropped out.
Lydia closed the book half way through and noticed that the moon had looked different. The moon was no longer full and bright; rather the clouds had covered half of it since the sky was no longer clear. She decided to smoke another cigarette, maybe I’ll see someone walking down the illuminated sidewalk, she thought. There was no one there, however, so she smoked her American Spirit and watched as the clouds unveiled half of a face in the midnight sky.
When Lydia returned to her novel, which she was enamored with at this point, she became consumed with the character. She remembered her father and the good times they had together, but also the bad. After mom left everything had gone wrong, she thought. She continued to ponder and related to her book, or at least the fighting and the escaping. Lydia dived back in and waited for a happy ending. She flipped from page to page and traveled with the character, practically holding hands along the way. From college to drugs to the streets it went as she teared up and hoped that the ending would come soon. Strange, she noticed, a happy ending was something she never expected. Though now, through thick and thin with the book she has been. She treaded across the country with this person and yet there was no fulfillment in sight. Lydia reached the last page and went on to read what was next.
When she finished her novel she immediately stood up and headed for the rooftop door. This side of the door was dark and dirty; it had been painted a more repulsive color then the walls inside of the library. Lydia slowly made her way down each step and continued while people began showing up at the library. She headed back downstairs and rushed to put her book away in order to grab the next.
Lydia would wander the aisles once again without the concern of time or class or the strict laws of the University. She would read and let the hours go by as she hung out with her characters, with the authors, with the poetic words and phrases. She would wander the rows of books for days, for months, and even years, until there were too many books to read, and until Lydia would or could no longer skim the pages her favorite tales.