Made a right turn

On my way to the mall on an evening I just had to get away from the couch, I made a right turn instead of going straight when I saw your blue and white sign in a classic font spelling “Library” with a big right-pointing arrow. I can’t believe it took me 9 months to do this.

In a new town, with new people and new streets, I felt a sense of familiarity as soon as I saw your brown brick building, without ever having been here before. As I walked in, I could feel nostalgia kicking in and I smiled, attracting curious glances from the kids checking out stacks of new and worn out books. Libraries have been one of the constants in my life, ever since I was a kid, while I moved countries, cities and schools.

I took the first sofa seat I saw, opened up my laptop and started writing. I am now sitting here reminiscing about the superhero-ish action books I read as a kid growing up in Pakistan, which have made me a sucker for all the superhero shows I can cram into my life. The second library I went to was in Canada and just a short walk from our house, and we would often stop by the park, sometimes using the younger kids with us (my nephews or my friend’s younger brother) as an excuse to go to the swings. I may have read all the books in any children’s series that was available there. I know I should’ve probably made better choices but hey, it sparked my love for reading and discovering new worlds.

I remember the library across from my high school where we would escape to in our “spare” to use the computers with internet before any of us had cellphones. The college library was a few steps up as it was a nice modern building, with tall, elegant bookshelves, but our hangout spot remained by the computers. We knew that’s where we would find our friends after their class waiting for us, so we could head out for lunch.

My dear collection of my favourite books and fortress of life-changing memories, I’m sorry I lost in touch with you after college, but I’m glad we met again in university. I spent days and nights on the floor, on the tables, in the booths, in the meeting rooms – wherever we could find space. We studied there, ate there, slept there, caught whiffs of some funky smells during exam times, made friends (not with the same people from the previous category), dreamt about our future, explored the self-help section and caught up on our must-watch TV shows. Then our relationship just ended dramatically without so much as a goodbye.

I’m here to tell you that I’ve missed you and the smell of your old books and wooden tables and shelves, the white stickers on reserved books and movies, the colourful displays of paper flowers and charts, the rows of shelves alphabetized standing strong and proud of all the hard work by the staff maintaining them and most of all the possibility for all the knowledge I could ever want and the worlds hidden in you. I’ve missed you and I’m back here to tell you our relationship will last through generations.

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