Coming of Age Contemporary Friendship

In all her forty-two  years of living Anne would describe herself as nondescript . She likes being stereotypical. Was she elated to find out her vision was failing? Absolutely. After 14 long years she could finally purchase glasses. Tip them to the bridge of her nose and explained the Dewey decimal system as though she were bored while in reality she lives for the question. Rarely does one love their job as much as Anne and quite rarely does one look the job like Anne. 

The two boys who have been coming in for the past couple of  weeks have never bothered to ask about the Dewey decimal system. They've never asked any questions about books. They haven't asked where are the biographies of famous football players. They haven't asked where can I find a book about Asia for a school project. They haven't even asked the obligatory question of where are the movies and CD’s.

It isn't that they are mute. If anything they are the opposite of mute. Obnoxiously not mute if you will. They discuss everything as loudly as possible. 

What they're going to eat for dinner (Taco Bell)

What time they have to go to school tomorrow (7:30 AM)

Whose going to pick them up today (generally their affectionately called D-Bag father)

Anne understands children have to express themselves especially to each other . But do they have to do it so loudly? Today the one she assumes is younger is standing at the table where the other sits. The older is  slumped down low with his hoodie pulled over his head. Urgently the younger keeps asking him to talk to him . Anne wouldn't normally noticed but the younger's knuckles look like they've been put through a hamburger grinder. It's when his tone borders on yelling that her coworker finally nudges her.

“Anne, you live to kick kids out go on. It's your time to shine.”  Anne  scowls. It's only because her coworker is an utter sap. She claims to like all the kids even  the loud kids.

Anne doesn't hates any of the kids or like kicking them out of a place where they can receive free education. In fact it's disheartening, but Anne is willing to be stern when everyone else likes to be mushy. So she toes  her feet carefully back in the flats she abandoned and adjust her sweater.

By the time she makes her way to the boys the loudest and younger is crying. He sounded angry with the way his voice carried through the stacks of books.  From the way his shoulder were taut and his jaw was pressed he looked angry too. Tears were the last thing she anticipated. Using the dirty sleeve of his hoodie he swipes at his face when he sees her approaching.

“What time does the library close?”  he demands before she even has a chance to ask them to leave.

“It closes at 7, but it's going to close for you sooner if you don't hush.” At  her snide comment the older lifts his head.

It's because of her years of experience of listening to excuses for unwanted library fees that she doesn't gasp. His face is well, frightening to say the least . One eye is bloodshot and already turning a ghastly purple. Around each nostril is a dried layer of blood flaking down his chin.

“He'll only get quiet if you kick him out. I'll be quiet, please let me stay.”

“If you're both part of the problem I'll kick you both out.” She responds simply not wanting to take sides.

“Are you kidding me? I didn't do anything!” Ah yes, the whiny tone of a teenager experiencing a slight inconvenience. She fights the urge to roll her eyes. 

“I'm just trying to talk to you!” The younger whines at the top of his lungs. As if Anne’s threat really meant nothing to him.  

“You punched me in the face. I shouldn't have to talk to you. Right?” That question is directed to Anne. 

She shrugs and looks to the younger. “Punching doesn't solve anything.”

He must be spite driven boy because  he spits out, “books don't either.”

“Only because you haven't bothered to read them.” She answers. Normally she wouldn’t grace that with a response but she can’t stop the words from flying out of her mouth. She can lecture them on the topic but she stopped lecturing along time ago when kids gave her their bored  looks. In her defense these ones started asking her questions first. 

Now would normally be the time to tell them to leave, but Anne can’t help it. It’s been a week of watching these ones. These boys who live and love loudly in the library are going to have to learn a thing or two about fighting. Fighting which Anne has learned is something to be done correctly just as filing books is to be done correctly. She might not be the one to lecture them, but she'll at least give them a piece of friendly advice. Something her coworker thinks she would never do.

“Did you bother to apologize to your brother for turning his face into a Stephen King novel?” Judging from his stunned expression she would guess no. “You'll have to learn to apologize someday. This one is as good as any. And you. You’ll have to learn how to accept apologies. Today is also as good as any. But those conversations are generally loud and thus forth not intended for a library so pack it up.”

Baffled the boys collect their items and stand up  to leave. They don't argue which is surprising, but maybe that's just because Anne has such a stern tone. Really she didn’t mean to lecture them for so long. It’s just rare for people to listen to Anne so she got a little carried away. It startles  her a little to realize she doesn't want them to not come back. Violently unsure of herself Anne curls her toes in her flats and uncurls them, slides her  glasses down the bridge of her nose and clears her throat. They turn back to give her a last look. 

She says as though it doesn’t matter, “see you tomorrow.”

April 27, 2021 00:12

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