“Can you hold my coat? I’m going to just walk around for a bit,” she said, handing off her long, black jacket to her husband before he had a chance to respond.
She walked down the hallway, heels clacking on the scuffed floors towards the library entrance at the end of the hall. In the 10 years or so since she had been gone, the school had revamped its classrooms, integrating roller chairs to fit with the new 1:1 laptop program. It had renovated the cafeteria, so that the lunch lines moved more efficiently, and added a panini press.
She breathed a sigh of relief as she pulled open the swinging doors to the library, which remained virtually untouched. Yet, the oak walls didn’t stretch to the sky as she remembered.
Small round tables occupied the corner spaces, with the same uncomfortable wooden chairs she remembered sitting on as she did her research projects. The reading area in the center had been preserved, with the plump and plush couches where she used to plop down in the afternoons, back when she had free time and was not inundated with what felt like a seemingly endless flow of work and obligations to address.
Displays featuring new releases sat on tables lining the backs of the couches. “Perfect for mystery lovers,” one read. “The wonders of architecture,” proclaimed another.
She stopped, recognizing the loopy Sharpie handwriting on the display’s. No…it couldn’t be. Could it?
She walked slowly around the corner, past the non-fiction section to the librarians’ offices, where the third door was ajar, just as it had always been. A soft light emanated from the room. She through the doorway.
Inside, a small, feminine figure was crouched over a pile of books, flipping slowly through pages. She could see the outline of her reading glasses. The small pointed corner at the end looked so familiar.
“Mrs. Robinson?” she said softly.
The librarian turned around, startled, and squinted at the woman in the door. A look of inquisition, then slowly, recognition, then warm delight spread across her face.
“Well, hello there!”