She looks every inch the librarian but hey come closer...... Looks can be deceiving.
Within the heart of a Library I sit at my counter. I’ve worked here for the last 29years... I quietly think about the past whilst I count moments I’ve shared in life with the customers who have frequented my Library.
My mother once told me with a sad faraway look of pain, etched deeply into the grooves of her ugly face that when I was born in the January of 1965, it was extremely cold. The vast amounts of icy snow that fell, brought the country to a standstill. I was almost born on the pavement in the street. Sitting here now aged 44 years and looking very much the part of a typical librarian... I think back over my life and I know with certainty back then, I didn’t know the path I would walk with all the good, bad and dark times I would willingly or unwillingly share with those unfortunate enough to get to know me. I also smiled knowing when people looked at me they saw as I have already mentioned, a typical librarian.
But underneath this dull, plain, tweedy exterior lies a totally different person; I’m alive, vibrant, and deeply dark, always wishing for the impossible. I love life, I get what I want. I've a dark delicious and daring secret.... a life others don't or wouldn’t even dare to dream about... You know what, let me tell you this... exteriors can be removed, painted, altered even disfigured... I'm a brilliant actress. I should receive an Oscar, why? For all the deceitful, daring qualities I need to successfully carry off two completely different lives. Yes, life is good!
Take today for instance as usual, I was up at 6.30am to see to mother, who by the way is bedridden because of her inexplicable, continual ill health.... She depends on me for lots of things especially her morning routine. I wash, dress and feed her not forgetting her extra-special spiked herbal drink of doom..... With Mother seen to, I organise myself. I know later on mother’s home-help will arrive to continue her care, allowing me to continue in the job I pretended to love.
I arrive at the town’s library for 8.00am sharp. First I see Mr Flynn; he’s the building security man, he nods, raises his black peeked cap. Mr Flynn, has been here almost as long as I have and you know what, he probably has more secrets then I do.
Smiling I walk quickly to the main doors, unlocking them. Swiftly hurrying through the library’s double doors, first stop is the staff room where I secure my belongings in my own private locker. I put on the kettle preparing to make a welcome cup of tea. Whilst waiting for the kettle I listen to its familiar hum. I realise it’s the start of another busy week here in my library, a library that has somehow managed to become my home. How did that happen? I’m not sure! Maybe it's the thought that at the end of each day, I have to drag myself home to mother and that very thought fills me with absolute and utter dread. The library, its customers and my double existence manage to take my mind off my problems. The loud click of the kettle instantly brings me back to earth.
Walking through to my station I remember the post, I rush eagerly to collect it before I sip hot tea and organise the day’s events. Turning on the computer, I suddenly remember with a jolt I’ve a rather large group of students coming in at 9.00am. I’m to introduce them to the history section alas I know from previous experience, I’ll have to help them with their endless questions about life and their dull meaningless research. As Usual.... the alarm sharply rings out 9.00am; both doors electronically but serenely swish open bringing with it my students who for once, are unbelievably on time.
Hello Miss Daly they all sing out, I wave and indicate towards the large black & gold silence sign... I hear a few silly high pitched giggles and a few more sing out,
"Sorry Miss Daly”.... Raising my eyebrows, I brush back my smooth black bun. Tiredly I smile clinging on to my chained spectacles... I try briefly to remember how I must have been at their age. I quickly remember it’s my job to provide these young people with a service of access to information. Ha... if only they knew.... Hurriedly I surge towards them, indicating impatiently for them to follow. Almost at once the questions start coming thick and fast,
“Miss Daly, where will I find a book on Napoleon & Josephine’s love story?”
"Miss, where will I find something on Henry the 8th?”
"Miss Daly. I really...really...really need to have this essay completed in the next hour, it’s on Queen Victoria’s conquests” again unfortunately more stupid giggles.
"Miss Daly, would it be possible for you to show me how to research the Romans as I need......”
I come to an abrupt halt... in absolute hair pulling frustration I physically shudder. Staring at the highly glossed wooden floor, feeling immense irritation. I slowly turn... explaining as calmly as possible to impatient students, that I'm neither a computer nor a robot and from now on it would be one question at a time... followed by the answer because that's proper manners and pure common courtesy...
My students looked embarrassed, standing silent, some of them twitching, some of them moving from one foot then on to the other. A few mumbles of Sorry Miss.....
I really don’t know what gets into young people sometimes; they just don’t stop to think. I turn quickly on my heels, power walking to the department I needed to me in... My last thoughts before their lesson were..... Mmmmm... Bring on the night!