The Library

I woke up late today around 10:30 in the morning. I slept through my alarms (all 23 of them!) and when I got down to the kitchen my mom was already cooking lunch and my brother was getting ready to leave for class. He was talking to my mom about his friends and how he feels out of place in their conversations. I eavesdropped while I made myself marinara pasta. Apparently he didn’t like how his group of friends always talked about shallow things, of internet memes and the latest sneakers or whatever. He says they talk about it every single day and that’s why he feels drained all the time because he finds them toxic. I tried to tell him there are really going to be people in his life who he can only talk to about meaningless things and that’s fine, but deep inside I understood him because I felt the same way about my best friend. We have nothing in common; I cannot talk to her about philosophy and politics and culture and my favorite science fiction books because she doesn’t find them interesting. She’s not a huge reader; she likes pop music and makeup videos and Twitter memes—all fine, but I it gets toxic. She loves talking about other people’s lives and relationships and their sex lives (which I hate!), but that doesn’t mean she’s not my best friend anymore. But I get my brother though. It gets lonely.

“I just hate meaningless conversations,” he says. But hey, I think sometimes we have to talk about fluff. No one’s a special snowflake; but I understand that if it’s everyday then he definitely needs to displace himself for a while or find new friends. “I just hate that they’re always talking about the latest gadgets and shoes. It’s so materialistic.” And I agreed with him. The vanity and greed that goes hand in hand with our materialist, consumerist culture disgusts me. I patted him on the back and tried to cheer him up. I told him if they were really his friends, he should be honest with them and tell them what he’s feeling and thinking. If they’re real, they’ll listen, understand, and come to a tradeoff. If nothing happens, I told him he should just look for better, more wholesome, and insightful friends. He shrugged, still irritated.

I ate my lunch quickly and told my brother to wait for me. I’m gonna walk with him on the way to his commute route because he passes by the local library everyday and I promised myself I will check it out this week. I took a quick shower and was down in 20 minutes ( a record!!!). We passed by my mom who was sitting in the garage, having her daily cigarettes and coke. The smell is just disgusting. I hate her for that.

We started walking down the street, me clutching my books and notebooks to my chest and him with his big headphones on. We walked in silence until he finally spoke, “What’s with all the pink?”

“What?”

He puckers his lips and points to his cheeks.

“Oh,” I say. I had no answer. Here I am walking to the library five minutes away from my house with a face dabbed with blush and lipstick. I sighed. I wear makeup to school everyday to look decent and I guess I just got used to it.

“I don’t know, I’m vain,” I said, laughing at the thought. Aren’t we all?! Here I am writing about my life and my woes—isn’t writing vanity itself? It’s absurd. Life is absurd. Or maybe because I do look better with rosier cheeks and pinker lips. Ha-ha.

We walked around the vicinity of the library and he sent me off. “Bye,” he said as I stepped inside the entrance. Bye, I said back. And then he was gone.

~

I’ve been here in the library for about two hours. It’s small and it’s only on one floor. There are wooden tables around with peeling violent paint. There were a couple of grade school kids here earlier and a group of old men playing chess and reading newspapers, but they all left already. It’s just me here, other than the old librarian (I think it’s her?) and her two assistants and two—I assume—grandkids. I haven’t spoken to them, and it’s fine because when you’re in the library, you’re not compelled to engage in small talk. It’s the only place I know that treats silence as sacrosanct. The librarian is everything I envisioned her to be. She’s probably around 60 years old or more, wearing light trousers, and a plaid shirt. She has cropped hair and wears pearl earrings. She has a thin gold watch around her wrist, but she wears no wedding ring. I want to talk to her, but I’m daunted because she sounds firm and strict when talking to her grandchildren. I think she’s one of those disciplinarian types…

Right now she’s arranging the books on the shelves with her assistant. The kids behind me are making incomprehensible noises. The library is quaint. It’s hot too; no A/C, just electric fans. The grilled windows overlook the center of the plaza. I think I like it here. At least these people respect my silence and Solitude. I think I’ll go here regularly. I like it here.

The library assistant fixing the shelves was humming Stand By Me, and now he’s breaking into song. He’s so unabashed! I want to laugh out loud. What a comical man. I think I’ll befriend him, his voice is really nice.

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