Love in a Library

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Love in a Library

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“I knew that I shouldn’t have left this paper to do last minute,” I said to myself out loud.

I was searching for that one history book that I thought could solve all my writing problems. My major is communications, so I don’t even know why I was taking this history class to begin with. My paper is on World War II, and I only chose it because of the movies I have seen. I looked ahead at the long and seemingly never-ending shelves of books. There were other people scattered throughout the history section. I recognized most of them as other people from my class that also waited last minute to start their paper, and a few I did not recognize. I went back to looking at the books in front of me.

“Hey, Dylan, need a hand?” a voice from behind me called out.

I turned to face the mystery voice and saw that it was someone in my class. Sarah was her name—extremely smart in the classroom, and I had the biggest crush on her since the first day of class. She smiled at me and continued speaking.

“I heard you muttering to yourself and thought I could help you out somehow. You look a little lost.”

I was very lost, but I wasn’t going to admit it.

“If you could, that would be amazing. I thought that this paper was going to be easy, but now I see I am poorly mistaken.” I trailed off, looking dejected at the wall of books before me.

“It is probably not a big as a deal as you are making it. What is your topic? Don’t you remember that I am one of the few history majors in this school?”

At that moment, I felt she was a godsend. I explained that I wanted it to be on World War II, and her eyes sparkled. Then, I remembered that’s what her paper topic was on, too. Actually, that’s what she wants to teach. She really is a godsend. We narrowed down the topic quite a bit, and she helped me pick out the right books to get me started. I was really enjoying having her around—not for the academic help but just who she was as a person. She really made this subject interesting to me when the teachers I have had failed to do so in the past. She also seemed to really care about what I thought was interesting or important to make the paper work better for me. Sarah really acted like she cared, which I know people wouldn’t when trying to help out, and she was great for that. While I was thinking of her, my watch beeped loudly. I looked at the time and realized that if I didn’t leave then for work, I was going to be extremely late, and I couldn’t have that happen a third time this week.

I panicked.

“Thank you so much for your help. You are fantastic. Maybe you can read my rough draft?”

Rough draft?! I don’t even like reading my own writing, so there is no way I would let her read it. I can’t take it back now. I already said it, and she seemed thrilled that I did.

“I would love to! You are normally really secretive with your writing, you know? I asked you earlier in the year if you wanted me to read a paper of yours, and you basically ran out the room.”

Oh, God, that did happen. But I really did have to leave for work, so I shrugged it off.

“That was just a really bad paper, but I can have a rough draft for you tomorrow if you would like. I work nights, and I can get a draft done tonight. But I do have to go to work, so thank you again for helping me!”

I didn’t have time to hear her say thank you if she had. I was already late. When I arrived at work, I couldn’t believe that I had promised a rough draft for her the next day. I don’t even write rough drafts. But she seemed so happy when I said that she could read it that I spent all my breaks and free time writing a somewhat decent rough draft from the books that Sarah helped me find. I only had a spiral notebook on me, but it was going to have to do. While writing and doodling in the margins, I had something to show Sarah in the morning when I had left from work that night. Maybe I will actually get an A on a history paper for once.

❊❊❊

Before my 8 a.m. class, I had met with Sarah to give her the notebook that held the rough draft. We agreed to meet in the library after my class due to my two hour break before our shared history class. As I passed her the notebook, I felt slightly uneasy. I assumed it was due to seeing her again and actually letting her read my writing. I didn’t know which made my stomach flutter more, so I tried to shrug it off as best as I could. I made her promise me not to laugh at my writing if it was too horrible. She only smiled at me, and I swear my heart stopped as I walked to my class.

It was only about halfway through my class that I realized why I felt uneasy giving her my notebook. What I thought were doodles in the margins were actually little confessions of how I felt about Sarah. And when I say little, I meant anything and everything that I thought about her. As soon as class ended, I bolted to the library and prayed that she was there, not reading my notebook.

As fate would have it, she was in the history section of the library, sitting at a desk with her laptop open. My notebook was closed under a book that she was taking notes out of. Blessed be the Lord, I thought. She hadn’t read my rough draft or the margins. I made my way over to her and sat across from her so I wouldn’t bother her. When I sat down, she smiled at me and closed her laptop. She moved the book that was covering my notebook, and I picked it up before she had the chance to.

“Oh, I already read it.”

My heart stopped.

“Your thesis is well defined, but your subject matter is little broad. We could probably narrow it down to a specific region.”

She continued talking about what she thought of the rough draft and had a lot of good things to say about it. I was beginning to feel a bubble of hope by thinking that she hadn’t read the margins, but I felt down about that as well.

“If you want to open up your notebook, I highlighted some key points we could work on together,” she said with a smile.

I looked at her and smiled too. It sounded like a grand plan—until I opened the notebook. I looked for the highlighted areas within the rough draft and found none—only in the margins. She had read them after all.

“I can’t believe she wanted to help me. It doesn’t seem real.”

I felt my face grow warm.

“She is truly wonderful, and her smile is contagious.”

I was hiding my face in my hands now, burning them in the process with how red my face was.

“If I get an A on this paper, I will ask Sarah out.”

I groaned out loud and started to explain myself.

“Look, I am so sorry that I wrote all that stuff. I don’t know why I did. You must be so creeped out right now. I can leave. I am just so sorry.”

I stood up to grab my stuff, and she stopped me.

“I am not creeped out at all Dylan. I just want to know if you meant any of it.”

She looked at me with an open but guarded expression—about how I look at the world, optimistic but not wanting to get hopes up about a lot of things.

“Every word,” I said without hesitation.

She smiled what seemed to be the first real smile that I had ever seen her give, and she took my notebook back from me saying, “Well, I hope that you get this A then.”

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