Here comes Chapter 4 of The Librarian!
Freed from the confines of her former self, Isis’s courage grew boundless. Abandoning her frumpy style of days gone by, she wore her wavy copper hair loose down her back instead of pinned up with whatever pencil was within reach. Her satchel currently carried satiny lipsticks in brilliant shades of crimsons and apricots. She dared visit a stunningly muscled model in the pages of a cinematography book and they enjoyed a sultry night of tango and salsa, among other sensual pursuits. Blessed with thick black hair, he displayed the most dazzling smile she had ever seen up close. The first time she met Alejandro, she swore she swooned.
“Hola, hermosa! Te pones ese vestido maravillosamente!” Alejandro cried to her as she sat wearing a form-fitting floral print dress, sipping a strong Italian espresso in an outdoor cafe overlooking the Italian Riviera in Genoa.
“Ciao Bello. Grazie,” Isis smiled demurely, and soon they were flirting madly over chocolate croissants while a salsa band played in the corner. The borders between countries everywhere ceased to matter.
Alas, she left him behind when she realized his favourite subject to chat about was himself and his ‘personal style’. Emboldened, she indulged in a bike tour around Santa Barbara with an athletic engineer called Josh; but as it turned out, he needed to finish building a bridge in Japan. She promised she would wait for him, but for obvious reasons, she could not. She dissolved back into the library in the middle of biking to the store one day. She could only imagine the distress this caused her book companions.
Between travels, Isis savoured the scent of each and every book she came across. Her senses heightened, one of the first things she did after selecting one was open it and tilt her nose close to the top of the pages. She deeply inhaled the heady aroma of the papers, feeling the familiar urge to take a big bite of the delectable tome. Nothing was safe from her touch – the glossy sweet scents of magazines, the inky smell of old wrinkled newspapers, a woodsy biography or memoir. Isis cherished them all. The aroma satisfied a deep hunger for which she had no name. Working in the library, she once stole a brisk sniff, stopping short when she noticed a small boy gaping at her open-mouthed, as if she had lost her mind.
“Um, are you okay?” the young man asked her, his head tilted in apprehension. Her associate stared at her inquisitively. Thereafter, she indulged privately, with no one around to think her utterly batty. Now she could inhale to her heart’s content.
Evening became a sacred stretch of time for Isis. The empty library grew still and dark and she thirstily sipped hot, creamy chai lattes or rich Cabernet Sauvignons inside a chosen magazine. Curling up in a beanbag chair in a second floor reading nook to stare dreamily at the lights of the buildings and streets, she planned which book to enter later that night after gazing into the figure-eight ‘Natural Language’ infinity sculpture. Installed on the lawn below, the twelve foot steel model gave Isis enigmatic direction for her next trip. Words held immense power, and when symbols and letters carved into the piece swirled and flew into the air, the mysteries within revealed her next destination in streaming sentences. The letters y-o-g-a r-e-t-r-e-a-t C-o-s-t-a R-i-c-a would suggest a certain travel book; or the Museum of Modern Art in Midtown Manhattan for the Andy Warhol exhibition would come up as M-O-M-A. The possibilities were dizzying.
Isis could not conceive of running out of material to explore, but the possibility of it all coming to an end did not alarm her in the least. Although the shadows of her former life followed her like bread crumbs, she refused to be lured back by the haunted trail. She did note, albeit absent-mindedly, recurrent nightmares of drowning and car crashes stealing into her evening naps as the clock ticked away the minutes of each night.
Stay tuned for Chapter 5…