October 5, 201X
I think I spoke too soon yesterday diary, honestly I must have jinxed myself or something because… Just, things happened and I really don’t know what to think.
School was boring, I think I’m just going to skip over that. But after school things started to get interesting. I was going to go home after school, you know, chill at my own house, when I saw crowds and crowds of popular kids piling into Nathan’s car. I immediately knew I had to change my plans. If they were getting into Nathan’s car then they were going back to his house, back to my house, which meant I couldn’t be there. Well technically I can be here while Nathan’s friends are hanging. There’s no rule against it, I can just barricade myself in my room and flinch every time I hear footsteps coming up the stairs. But what if I get hungry or need to go to the bathroom or something. Being heckled and ridiculed in my own home doesn’t sound very nice.
Instead I hopped on my bike and took a fifteen minute detour to the library. More cold wind whipping in my face was a far trade off for not suffering in my own home. The Daedalus Regional Library is a branch of an intercounty wide library system so even though the building was shoved in the corner of a brick patterned strip mall it still has plenty of books. I locked my bike up in the rack then shoved the doors open, no waiting for me today.
Even though it’s small, I can see the back of the building from the entrance, I love it. I waved to the middle aged librarian Mrs. Jones when I walked in. She was sitting in her wheelchair behind the front counter, reading a book that was really on brand for her. She waved back but didn’t move to help me, she knows I’m a low maintenance patron.
Instead of browsing I went straight to the comfy chairs. The good leather one that I could put my feet up in. I wasn’t really there for the books today, just for the atmosphere. Since I already have the app installed on my phone I just opened that, took off my boots, and started listening to an audio book. It was a funny one, about a time traveling castle with an enigmatic host, but I tried not to laugh too loud, I was in a library after all.
I did my homeworks as I was listening, and unfortunately it went pretty fast. But the peace didn’t last long enough. Even though the library was better than my house today, it wasn’t the perfect place to hang out. Not even forty five minutes after I sat down the doors opened again and three people streamed in. I didn’t even register who had come in until two hands covered my eyes.
“Guess who?” a male voice asked me cheerfully.
“Get your hands off of my, Kelly.” I didn’t think they would actually stop but I said that anyway.
A girl’s voice respond this time, “I’m not going to stop until you guess who~”
Kelly and Jonathon are robotics club members that volunteer at the library to get volunteer hours. I should have remembered that they were going to be there today, but I just thought they would be with Nathan. And for that one mistake I found myself in that situation.
Kelly was the one that spoke this time, in a sort of whiny voice, “Oh come on NaNa, Nathan’s always fun why are you no fun?”
I guess they were done pretending to be five year olds because Jonathan snorted, “There’s not actually related Kelly, Nathan’s not a walking monument to hot topic it’s pretty obvious they’re not actual siblings.”
Kelly removed her hands from my face, finally, and I was staring at Jonathan’s pale smirking face. I hoped that my face looked unamused but I was actually a little scared. Kelly moved from behind me and stood next to Jonathan, they’re volunteer pins shining the same golden color as Kelly’s hair.
Kelly leaned into my face, I could smell her vanilla and passionfruit bath and body works perfume and picked up one of my braids, “We really should give you a makeover some time, you’re like a cross between a toddler and fucking satan, NaNo.”
I didn’t respond, instead I looked over her shoulder and waved at Mrs. Jones who was still behind the counter reading her book. Jonathan saw who I was waving to and pulled Kelly back.
“You’re knight in shining armor is a 55 year old widow, Naomi? I’m terrified,” he giggled, “But anyway we should start shelving now, no need to get up though. Just laze around here as long as you want, you wouldn’t of any use anyway.”
They split up, Jonathan going to the kids section to shelf out of place books, and Kelly going to the front deck to check in returned books. Both well within eyesight of me. I could have stayed there and kept reading but everytime they even glanced at me my heart beat faster. Instead I shoved all of my binders and notebooks back into my backpack and ventured farther into the library.
Most of the building is visible from everywhere else in the library, at least all of the seating areas are so those were out of the question. But deep in the adult section the shelfs are thick and full of books and most importantly opaque enough so I can’t be seen from everywhere else in the library. I sat down in the between two talls shelves of books and restarted my homework. But I didn’t hit play on my audiobook, I needed to be aware of my surroundings so that Kelly and Jonathan couldn’t sneak up on me again.
But somehow I managed to zone out again and by the time my mind got out of my homework and into the world someone was standing over me. I flinched before I realized that it wasn’t one of the popular kids. It was Isabel, I hadn’t seen her since she graduated last year. And yet there she was reaching over my head to shelve books.
“Oh sorry!” I breathed, picking up my backpack and scooting out of the way.
“You’re fine,” she said, but she did move closer to the shelf now that I wasn’t blocking the way.
My homework abandoned I watched her as she shelved. She’s so pretty! I just can’t diary, she’s just so… I can’t even. Today at the library she was wearing those same fishnet sleeves that I saw her wear 70% of the time when she was still in highschool. I bought the same ones because I saw her wearing them so much. Her eyeliner was smudged on her lower lash line just like mine was. But that’s pretty much the only thing that we had in common. She was wearing a corset, an actual corset, diary! And even though her jeans were ripped they were wide legged with tulle peeking out of the seams and out of the ankles. Just the amount of self confidence and grace that radiated off of her was amazing.
She looked over her shoulder and I picked up my pencil again and started on my homework. Do you think she noticed I was staring diary? I really hope not I want her to like me. I really hope she doesn’t think I’m creepy, Isabel’s just so stunning! But let’s stop talking about how absolutely drop dead gorgeous she is and talk about why she was in the library.
Every time I asked Pastor Reagon about her he said that she was going to college in Seattle. Her sheer amazingness must have fried my brain because I couldn’t think of any reason for her to be shelving books at the library. I mean she finally escaped this town, why would she come back?
“I thought you were going to college?” I couldn’t help asking her, which was the wrong thing to say. That was practically admitting that I asked where she was after she graduated! Honestly, what is wrong with me?
Isabel turned around and stared at me, her brown eyes were only a few shades lighter than my own and her olive toned skin was made harsh with white powder. When she finally spoke there was no air in my lungs.
“The county says they can’t hire another librarian to help out Mrs. Jones so I decided to help out when I don’t have class.” She explained, and I detected a bit of annoyance in her voice that I hoped was just my imagination.
I nodded and she continued with her work and I went back to my homework. Although I was significantly more sweaty than when I started. She walked off once all the books were in their place, and I was left staring at where she had been. But there was something off, a piece of paper was laying on the shelf next to all of the books. Thinking that she forgot something important I stood up and reached up to the shelf, but the piece of paper was thicker than I thought it would be. There were some drawings on the back but when I turned it over...
This is the card and on the back’s a map that starts at the entrance to the woods and leads to a spot deep in Juniper Way. I looked over my shoulder and to the sides of the bookshelves. Kelly and Jonathan were nowhere to be seen, and since Isabel was the last one there and she didn’t see the card Isabel must have dropped it. And it made sense, Isabel was really cool and she, Jonathan, and Kelly did work together. But Isabel wouldn’t do that diary, she’s nice, she not like Nathan’s crowd, she doesn’t prank people for her own enjoyment, at least that’s what I think.
So instead of accepting the obvious truth I took a picture of both sides of the card and tucked the actual thing in my skirt pocket. My homework came before pranks so I finished that up. I thought about finishing my audio book as well but it was already 6:00 and I needed to get home.
Watching out for Kelly and Jonathan I walked out of the library. And I was looking out for Isabel too, but in an entirely different way. But another nail in the prank coffin was that I saw none of them on my way out. I could only wave at Mrs.Jones as I opened up the door and walked out.
On the way home I put in my earbuds and listened to music, trying to think of what happened. There’s nothing I can do if it’s a prank, but if it isn’t? The card says go to Juniper Place on Saturday during the witching hour, 3 am. But Nathan has that robotics competition in Olympia this weekend and I was actually sort of excited about going. I’ve only been back to the city four times since Mom and I moved here and I was planning to go to some fabric stores to pick up some more cool thread, or some thrift shops for some clothes. So even if the card was real there was no way I could be there on Saturday night if I was a thirty minute car ride away.
Anyway the ride home was nice, cold, quite. Not many people out after 6pm after all. But the lyric of the day goes to…
I hope I’m not my oooonly friend. OOOO OOO O OO - Truce // Twenty One Pilots
There’s no way to properly write the gravity of that line but trust me, diary it holds a lot of weight.
Nathan’s car was pulling out of the driveway when I got home so I knew I was safe from him and his friends. That really put a spring in my step when I got home, that and I sorted out what I was going to do about the card.But it is kind of cool, I was contemplating taping it to my wall when I walked in. Mom and Derrick were sitting at the dining table, eating without Nathan for once when I got in.
Mom smiled at me when I sat down at the table, her curly hair was pulled up in a bun and she was wearing the beautiful but non funtical pearl earrings Derrick got her for memorial day. And judging by their smooth blue blouse I could hardly tell that she had probably spent two hours on the chicken alfredo on the table. But the tiredness in her eyes betrayed her and the same chandelier that made her cool brown skin look flawless showed off bags under her eyes.
“Naomi I was wondering when you would be home, plates are in the kitchen.”
“Sorry I worried you, Mom,” I said.
Derrick chimed on, “You and Nathaniel’s crowd don’t mix, that’s okay. Stay out as long as you like.”
It’s amazing how much Derick sounded like he actually cared about me. But I didn’t mention what a hypocrite he was instead I tried to make a joke.
“Just as long as they aren’t riding with us to Olympia I’ll be fine.”
Derrick shared a look with my mom and looked back at me, like he was embarrassed. Something was coming, but I didn’t know what. Eventually Derrick spoke.
“Naomi,” Nothing good started with him saying my name like that, “We don’t think it’s necessary for you to come this weekend.”
“What?” I asked, more surprised that angry, “Why?”
He seemed cagey, “Well we just don’t think you’ll like the city and we want to give you a weekend to yourself.”
I shot a look at my mom, but she just looked away. I guess it was a unanimous decision after all. I spoke through my teeth, “Is there any other reason you don’t want me to go?”
“We just don’t think the city will fit you,” even though I literally lived in Olympia before we moved in with Derrick, “You haven’t seemed very excited about the tournament.” They make me do plenty of things that I’m not excited about diary, believe me on that, “We just don’t think you fit the robotics scene…”
There was more after that but he had gotten his point across. They, read, Derrick, didn’t want me to go because he would be embarrassed having me there. I guess it’s not only Nathaniel’s friends that are weirded out by the way I dress.
“Okay, Dad,” It was all I could do to resist calling him by his first name diary, but Mom didn’t like it when I ‘disrespected him’. Instead I just left the dining room, but not to get a plate from the kitchen but to go upstairs.
I walked into my room and grabbed Satin off of my bed. The little stuffed elephant was looking pissed, so I guess we do always match emotions. But I didn’t stay in my room, instead I went down the hall and pulled on the string in the ceiling until the ladder to the attic came out. With Satin in my arms and my messenger finally free from my shoulder I climbed fast and practiced.
From there I navigated through the mounds and mounds of old couches, chairs, and antiques to the wardrobe. I hadn’t been old enough to read the Chronicles of Narnia when I discovered the wardrobe. But I was an eight-year-old who had just been uprooted to a new house in a new place and I was feeling scared. By exploring the house and finally the attic I had found a place of my own. A scratched up imposing wardrop with hardwood and fake gold accents. I had even bought a lock for it, that only I had the key to open. Today I opened up the wardrobe, got in, and closed it behind me. So now I’m here diary. And Derrick’s such a freaking idiot. I don’t want to swear diary but I hate him, I wish Mom had never married him. Sure I dress a bit weird and I’m not very social but that doesn’t mean he gets to, gets to…
I’m sorry if they’re tears in your pages diary I just can’t hold it in anymore.
Satin’s a great buddy to cry into diary, he doesn’t judge me, he doesn’t tell me that I’m an embarrassment. He just listens and cries with me. Sorry if there are tears in your pages diary, I just can’t stop myself. Diary, do you think Mom hates me? I mean I know Derrick was just saying ‘we’ to seem more powerful but Mom didn’t even say anything while he was telling me I can’t go. I just wish I could be normal like she wants me to diary, but I’ve tried and I’m just. I’m just so freaking selfish dairy I can’t even pull myself together to not embarrass my mom.
Sometimes I wish I was more like Nathan, diary.
Anyway, looks like I don’t have anything to do this Saturday, diary. Maybe I should look at the card a bit more.
Naomi J. Morgan