With apologies to Girl Genius
You know the book. That one. It rests with phlegmatic calm in the section of the library that is never really quiet. The section where the librarians have given up shushing all but the most bloodcurlding of screams. A hundred others sit on either side of it; taking up rank after rank of tall, deep shelves. They are every depth and thickness. Their covers are gleaming with newness and only one careless grab away from being thrown out. They are full of pictures showing every color of the rainbow and fascinating monochromatic cityscapes. The main character is a creature of some sort: furry, metallic, or feathered. They are all tempting but only one drew you here. That one.
You step slightly forward and your hand rises to touch the spine. The librarian's do-it-yourself lamination is holding but the air bubbles have formed on the corners and the top and bottom edges are fraying, revealing the slowly creeping stains. You carefully shift your fingers, hoping against hope that you remembered to wash your hands properly. You slid the book out from between its neighbors and it come free with a rush of memory. You flip the book to gaze down at the cover and your mouth begins to move silently as the words flow out of some deep treasure chest of memory.
That is when you hear it; the unmistakeable sound of someone looking at you. You start guiltily and clutch the memory laden tome to your chest like a shield. She is standing behind you. Not right behind you. No, she would never invade your personal space. She belongs here in this semi-sacred place. The sticky little fingerprints that mark her pants are the badges that document her clearance.
Not like you. You are all at once far too old and far too young to be in this place. You begin to panic. The book is heavy in your hands and you glance down at it in the desperate hope for inspiration. She asks if she can help you in a bright voice that shines right down into your cowering heart. An idea forms and you grin a little.
"Yeah, yeah you can. Do you, um, do you think that my, ah, my nephew would like this book?"
You hold the book up between you but you see her soften. You see her smile deepen with sincerity. She assures you that it is a wonderful book that boys and girls both love and don't you want a few more? You gulp down the last of your discomfort and nod frantically. This might be THE book, but there are others, and this one just gave you a free pass to get them.
#IWillNeverBeTooOldTo read children's books.