Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Tracing Back

The jackdaws gathering outside the library in small, dysfunctional groups stared at the few people who dared go too close to their turf - perhaps they wouldn't have bothered chasing after the humans, who only furrowed their brows while swearing under their breaths or laughing merrily at the stupid birds, if it hadn't been for the fact that they had discovered some long since rotten food in one of the waste bins near the library's entrance. The black orbs surrounded by the bright white would stare at any possible threat, and any normal person would foolishly discard their gazes without much other thought than how "mindless" they seemed. Alice, however, did not think ill of the feathered creatures, and as she strode over to the door they hurriedly made a passage for her without throwing any suspicious glances at her.

To expect the small library to have any sort of guests at this hour - or any hour, really - was foolish, but the atmosphere in there was even more desolate than it had been before. One could sense this merely by feeling the chilly air against one's cheeks, or by listening to the monotonous ticking of one clock. Despite this the library wasn't completely deserted, there was a clerk on the other side of the counter, looking up expectantly when she heard the sound of someone entering the only quiet safe haven that was left in the ever expanding small town. Her smile was radiant but there was a desperation lingering in the corners of her mouth.
"Oh, you're Alice, aren't you?"
"I'm glad you could come! We're happy - well, really, it's only me and one other... but he's going to retire next month, you see. So I'm happy to see you. It's really refreshing to see someone so young take such a strong interest in literature," said the nervous, talkative woman, who could only be about thirty herself, "I wish more would."
There was a short pause that could have grown awkward over time when the clerk took her time to gaze out over the library's empty corridors with melancholia shining in her eyes. But since there was no time for daydreaming she soon came to her senses, talking fast as ever.
"As you know, you're going to be hired for a couple of months, then we'll see whether we'll want to keep you or not," she said with a smile. "To be honest, I don't think there'll be any question about it. There's no competition for you and we need another employee, despite our lack of customers."
Alice seemed to nod to the rhythm of the clock's ticking, not saying anything but mimicking the clerk's smile perfectly. Apparently it was working, as the woman, who had given off the impression of being somewhat tense despite her rapid words and smiling mouth, finally relaxed.

The jackdaws still remained outside, but had now taken their seats on the roof of the building or perched themselves on the branches of the spring trees. Pausing in their squabbles in order to focus on the happenings below them, watching the one girl with their odd eyes as if she was an actor in some well-renowned play, they moved slightly, turning their heads sideways while stretching their black necks in hope to get a better view. The exciting actions that Alice performed was going to the bus stop and waiting a few minutes for the bus to arrive, then stepping onto it and getting a seat towards the front of the oil-smelling bus.

1 comment:

  1. I am glad you have a job now, Alice. I wish you luck with it. Hopefully it will help you keep your mind on other things, and help you with your problems.