I stared at my bloated reflection in the broken fragments, each of them revealing a different version of me. Camilla was still snoring away like there was no tomorrow, which was a good thing. If she saw what I was witnessing right now, she would’ve no doubt brought the house down with her infectious laughter. And then where would I be?
This morning, I had slipped out of bed directly into the little painted glass vase which was the last bit of a reminder of my shadowy past. Well, I won’t say that I really appreciated getting little shards of glass stuck to my hand, but at least I got rid of the Goddamn thing at last. This vase had seemed like a scout out in a mission to uncover my location, and sometimes it even ended up spooking the shit out of me! Well, now it was gone...
One enemy down, Mate!!!
I staggered into the tiny kitchen trying to be as quite as possible, for my dear little roomie was a light sleeper. Quite unconscious to my form, my hand drawled towards the box filled with cereal sitting at the top of our utensil shelf. I didn’t know why, but I really felt like having something light today, something to relax my muscles and ease my senses. I looked up. Was I worrying too much about the submission? Would it turn up all right at the end? Was I stressing up for nothing?
My eyes loomed up apprehensively to the printed manuscript on the tiny dinner table by the kitchen. This was my darling, the infant of my creations. I still remember tiring day and night to write it up during my school days. I would wake up first thing in the morning and turn on the laptop to process my work. There were times when I would write a sentence, then scribble it down and tear down the entire Goddamn freaking page! Huh- who would’ve thought that a mere change of states would give me the inspiration needed to complete it at last? I’d contacted ten publishers, out of whom only four agreed to actually see the novel. Well- not a good start I would say...
I grabbed a white ceramic bowl from the utensil shelf, and filled it halfway with steaming hot milk. As my fingers fumbled clumsily to grab the scissors out of the great mess that we’d made last night, I heard a scream from our bedroom.
“What the hell do you mean by leaving a –ouch- shard of glass at the middle of the –owww- freaking floor??!!”
I stumbled into the room in frenzy, mumbling apologies and groping helplessly for the broom. Freaking broom wouldn’t come in sight when I actually needed it!
“Sorry.” I said finally, when I had finished shoving off the glass out of the way.
She looked up, her eyes dreary and dreamlike and her hair muffled up around her pale countenance, and grinned sheepishly. “I overreacted, didn’t I?”
“Yes you did.” I agreed.
The side of her lips quickly turned down into a grimace. “You really don’t have to be honest all the time, you know?”
I laughed. “Come for breakfast now, won’t you?”
“Cook up something for me Annie. I’m staaarvviinng!”
“Well, there won’t be any cooking up for you today. Satisfy yourself with cereal.”
“You’re kidding me.”
“I don’t have the time Cam. You know that-"
“Oh Yeah I know. I was just kidding...” her voice trailed off as I strolled back into the kitchen. As my spoon dipped into the bowl of cereal, my fingers went flickering through the phone screen to confirm the schedule. Out of the four publishers, two had called me to check out my novel today. I was awfully excited!
I made my way into Lenning Street in blue jeans and a leather jacket that I had just come across while pulling out some bits of clothing which were still buried deep inside my suitcase. I did not own a car, obviously, so I usually took a walk to all my destinations. Worked nicely for my physique as well!
As I strided along the footpath feeling like someone amongst a great crowd after almost a year, my glance fell on my wristwatch.
The first meeting was due on 10. That meant I still had two and half hours to waste before getting there. My eyes loomed over the place, searching for something attractive enough to catch my attention. And that was when I saw it; the little building standing quite deserted at the end of the road. I had not seen that shop before- must be new. As I edged towards it, I realised that it was a bookstore. Maybe, even a library. Owww-just what I needed!
The shop was quite desolate, with a dusty interior, and an old whiskered man sitting at the frontier with a look that seemed to be the sole reason of the building’s isolation. I went up to the table with the best smile that I could afford on my lips, but the man seemed to be quite oblivious to my presence.
He looked up and gave me a slightly annoyed glance. I rolled my eyes.
“What is the procedure for membership?”
At this, the man stared at me as if I had just asked him to become a ballerina.
“I-I mean...this is a library, isn’t it?”
“Yes it is.”
“Well, then I would like to apply for membership. Can you please-“
For a second, the man seemed to drift along my words. Then suddenly, as if yanked into consciousness, he went down into his knees fumbling in what seemed like a box full of small sheets of paper.
“I-I’ll fill the form for you madam, whilst you look through the books. You’d look through the books, won’t you?” he added hopefully.
“Thank you madam.” Please look through the books now madam. As you can see, they’ve been left untouched for days.”
I smiled and turned towards the huge mass of bookshelves behind me. Gorgeous- True heaven, this was. I should come here often. I climbed into the bookshelf area and made my way to inspect the books. There were a huge variety of books each piled up categorically into separate shelves. I sneaked my head into one, only to return a second later, coughing my head off at the dust. God, this was really ancient!
As I moved swiftly between narrow passages between two shelves, my eyes instinctively caught sight of a silver bound copy of the Write Life magazine at the top of the third bookshelf. This copy held memories that I could not and would not replenish. My first published short story. Tears welled up my eyes at the mere thought of it.
I reached out my hand to make a grab for the top shelf, only to miss my target and lose my balance. I stumbled and fell backwards, with the manuscript flying away into mere oblivion. My head hit hard into something, and I should’ve been bleeding by now. Ambulances should’ve arrived along with an impulsive Camilla lecturing me all the way back home. Why then, couldn’t I feel any pain at the side of my head? Suddenly I realized that I had kept my eyes shut all this time, and slowly opened them now.
Cushioning my head was a large muscular hand. I looked up and saw that the hand belonged to a tall and lean young man, looking down at me instinctively. The sun was in my eyes and I could not well make out his features, but I mumbled an almost inaudible thanks as he helped me stand up. I regained my balance, and was leaning against another bookshelf, when I caught him staring at me. By this time, my vision was quite clear and I could make up his face with my eyes. The sharp features. The slightly hooked nose, with a small mole on the lip. The dark brown eyes. My eyes widened as realization struck me like a thunderbolt. But he was faster than me.
“Amaya? Is this really you?”
And that was when I realized, that no matter how much you try to get the girl out of her past, but you won’t be able to get the past out of the girl.