Wednesday, March 13, 2013

my first job

It was, in so many ways, the perfect job for me. Just a few hours, really - Saturdays when there was nothing else for me to do in a town that specialised in nothing else to do, Tuesdays after school, and once in a blue moon an extra shift. Though, really, I was happy with my 12 hours a week, and happiest with my Saturday mornings, when my bosses took the morning off, and I had the whole priceless library to myself. 

For a  young and eager bibliophile, there is no better job than that of Library Page. Limited human interactions (particularly in a town where reading is low on the interests list), unlimited access to books, all kinds of peace and quiet. The best part was sorting the returned books - that was the best way to get my hands on the most popular books, the most sought after books, the books I would have to hide in my bag until I could secret them away under my pillow: Clan of the Cave BearFlowers in the Attic, assorted bodice ripping trashy romances.  I'd sign them out for myself, stash them so the boss wouldn't see and tell my mom what I was reading. Hide under my blanket at night with the imminent threat of either discovery or setting my polyester comforter on fire with my incandescent under-cover lamp. 

There was only one down side. One fly in my otherwise lovely ointment - the other Page. She worked the school nights I didn't. The library wasn't open on Friday evenings for some reason. We really had no valid reason to ever interact. She was a year ahead of me in school, and we certainly didn't have any friends in common, even in that minuscule town. But, years earlier she had taken an active dislike to me. The boy she'd liked (and who had eventually become her intermittent boyfriend) had lied about making out with me. The shameful irony was that I’d never even been kissed. And yet she believed his stomach-turning lie that I, in grade 7, had given him a blow job in the jolting, jarring, aluminum smelling interminable yellow bus ride home.

I suppose that as the self-righteous good girl I must have seemed like quite the imaginary conquest, though he rarely had even spoken to me. Two years later his best friend, her cousin, spread a similar rumour about me. On some level it was nice to even be noticed. I tried not to take the bus after that first lie. I tried, when possible, to catch a ride home with my mom instead.

We moved in to town the next year, but the lie moved with me, followed me four years later to the library stacks. A lie that seems so ridiculous and silly today haunted me throughout high school - even after the liars dropped out. For some reason, this girl clung to the lie, she became its ghoul. She left warning notes in my communciation cubby, dropped by when she knew the librarian wouldn't be there just to make sure I was still scared. 

I was. She was from what I'd been taught was a bad family. I don't know if that's what we still call them, but, that's what we called them then. She was tough, which in my mind meant she must also be stupid, and I frequently wondered how she'd gotten the other Page job. It was a terrible thing to be in my happy place, and to have it spoiled. In truth, it might only have been one threatening note - one time having her follow me through the stacks as I tried to get away from her, tried to make her stop. 

It might have been only one warning, but for a sensitive girl who just wanted to be alone with her books, once was enough. 


The Scintilla Project
Today's Prompt:

1. Tell a story about a time you got drunk before you were legally able to do so.

2. Tell a story set at your first job.

6 comments:

  1. How miserable...to be in what should be your "safe" place, only to be tormented by someone so stupid!

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    1. My consolation was that she was very unlikely to escape that no-where town. But yes - at 16 it was so very much the best and worst of times.

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  2. It is honestly things like these that stay with us forever, and that's too bad. Yes, there are good things that stay with us as well, but why should it be so hard to forget ignorant fools that have to tear others down only to make themselves feel better? The only other thing I can think to say is: remind me to sit next to you if we should ever be on a bus together. ;-)

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    1. Thanks, Jason. I think I'd like to be on a bus with you ... that would be truly interesting!

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  3. So after a crazy month I am so glad to be settling in to reading blogs again, especially yours, especially-ecially with you writing these prompts.

    Tough kids where I grew up were very similar--I had a handful that wouldn't leave me alone for a couple of years, and all their terrorizing seemed to be about sex. Why slutdom, when a girl is so obviously shy? From the adult perspective you look back and wonder how anyone could have believed we'd have anything to do with these loser's dicks.

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    Replies
    1. I think that was the worst part - I wanted so much to be wanted, but not by them. And not like that.

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