Look out, Look up, Look within

Submitted into Contest #142 in response to: Start your story with someone being given a book recommendation.... view prompt

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Christian Fiction Contemporary

“What an imposing huge brick building,” she thought as she climbed the cement stairs. She was thankful she had a library in her city, not to mention so close to home. Linda the librarian was standing behind the massive front desk as she approached. Linda Lovely had given her enjoyable book recommendations in the past, but today Jessica felt lost and lackluster. She could not put her finger on how she was feeling. Thoughts filled her mind as Linda made eye contact with her. Jessica smiled and greeted her “good morning.” Linda smiled and asked how she could help her today. Jessica placed two books on the counter and said, “returning these.” Linda scanned them in and added them to the pile of books on her pushcart to return to the shelves. Jessica gave her a wary smile and asked if Linda had any other recommendations. Linda thought for a moment after observing Jessica’s slightly unkept outfit and vacant look that was partially covered by Jessica’s her long auburn hair falling around her face. “You know, I do,” Linda broke the silence. Jessica looked directly at Linda waiting for her to finish her answer. “The Shack,” she said quietly. “Have you ever read it?” she continued. Jessica had heard about that book years ago, but never read it. Linda said, “I’m walking that way.” As she pushed her book cart, Jessica followed along. The massive library was beautiful with high ceilings and high large stained-glass windows. Jessica wondered to herself if this place used to be a church? They passed aisles and aisles of books before Linda took a left turn and quickly reached for a dark spined book on the shelf just above their heads. She held it out to Jessica. Jessica glanced at it as she took it and thanked Linda. Jessica thanked her again as she turned to leave and let Linda get back to her reshelving task. Jessica’s long hair flowed behind her as she made quick time back to the front desk. Linda’s co-worker scanned Jessica’s book out for her, and Jessica was on her way.

 The blue skies had one ominous looking grey cloud moving in, so she quickened her pace even more back down the stairs and onto the sidewalk heading back to her loft apartment. She wasn’t sure she was even going to read this book recommendation. She had heard it was depressing and she was in no mood for more sadness. She was tired, tired of fighting forward, tired of her own story, tired of interviewing for her dream jobs that never came together, just plain tired.

 She tossed the book on the table as she came through her large steel door into her third-floor walkup. Sunshine still flooded the room. She walked over to her wall of windows, overlooking the street below. She looked up to see where that storm cloud went.  It consumed the last of the blue sky as she stood there looking and her apartment went dark, like someone had hit the light switch off. The street below was quieter than usual. She noticed because the constant hum of the traffic was the background music of her life. The change was noticeable. It accentuated the impending storm that was rolling in. Thunder boomed! Lightening struck as the rain began to flood the windows. She watched for a few minutes as the water streamed down her large windows.  She sank into her couch to watch. She pulled the soft throw pillow over to rest her head on. Jessica loved watching the storms. They relaxed her. The bold bright colors of her loft looked muted, and it matched her mood. She silently began counting her blessings as she often did in her attempt to adjust her mood. 

She woke up a few hours later frustrated she had just wasted a few hours of her day off. She reached over and flipped on the light. She headed to the kitchen to make some noodles. She glanced at the book sitting on the table. “Stupid book,” she thought. She made her noodles and scooped up the book like an old habit as she headed back by table to the couch again. “Why would she recommend this?”, she thought. She cracked open the cover and found the first page, “there’s only one way to find out!”, she thought. She spun her noodles around her fork and stuffed them in her mouth as her eyes began to scan the book’s words. 

Before she knew it tears were rolling down her cheeks and she thought, “I knew it!” This is too sad to read,” but she continued. She only put it down to run to the bathroom and put her pajamas on. She grabbed a large glass of water, some grapes, and a small dish of dark chocolate chips as she hurried back to the book. “What happens next?!” She hadn’t investigated much about this book before she started reading. Usually she stuck to reading biographies, but she had recently branched into mysteries. She read on wondering if this was based on a true story. She felt her mind being challenged, as she moved into her bedroom to finish the book. The words on the pages calmed her mood. She knew this perspective was going to be with her for a while as she wrestled with the author’s words in her mind. Outbound ripples… Everyone forgiven, it was hard to be the better person in all situations. Jessica believed that if given the choice, people would always choose their own problems over other people’s problems and her problems seemed small compared to what she had just read. She closed the book staring straight ahead at nothing. The heaviness she had been carrying felt lighter. 

She walked back over to her wall of windows and stared at the full bright moon. It lit her loft in a beautiful nightly glow. Her mind was still processing. Had she lost sight of this perspective? She knew it but was shocked she had to be reminded of it. Wow! What a great recommendation once again from Linda. “Linda must have read this too,” she thought. She wondered what she had thought of it. Not that they always agreed on books, but she looked forward to hearing her thoughts on this one. It was a few years late to participate in all the whoopla regarding this book, but she now knew what this work was all about. “All things in time,” she thought. The timing was better for her to read it at this point in her life, than it would have been back in 2007. Tomorrow she would investigate the backstory of this book. “Another fine book recommendation,” she thought, “and another fine blessing to have a large library in her community!”

April 22, 2022 21:17

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