This is a short story I wrote a few months ago and thought I’d share with all of you. I learned a lot about writing during this little project. One of the big things was discovering that I write with a lot of symbolism and elements of poetry when writing fiction, even without having written poetry till after this story. I also discovered how important it is to branch out and try new styles. When there is something you love to do, don’t hold back and be confined to one small section of it that you feel comfortable in. Branch out and learn more so you can be better at what you love. ”– With Love, Lillian
Elanor Mills had worked at the library for over 50 years. Now she was back to revisit the books, her old friends. She gazed out the window as the rain rolled down the panes and the streets were washed with the fall days downpour. As Elanor watched she could see her memories played out in the droplets.
She was 20 again, transported back by the drops of memories. Relocating to Great Falls, Montana had been a risky move. She had grown up in Virginia, in a house full of clouds. When she announced she would be leaving to study teaching at the University of Providence her father had not taken it lightly.
“If you move you’ll regret it…I’ll make you regret it.”
He was a harsh man. Their home, a small white shackled house with morning glories climbing over the porch looked peaceful, but held a storm inside. She had to get out, had to leave. She had found shelter at the library, it’s big windows looking out onto the city provided an airy, lightness to the building, the walls of books were an escape. The distance from the storm made her feel almost safe. Elanor still felt a looming cloud behind her.
A year had past, she stood in the center of the same room, the cart of books in front of her providing a blockade between herself and the tall, lean man in front of her. He was danger.
“Hi, could you possibly point me towards any books on Aristotle? Or maybe just Dr. Seuss, more my speed right?”
Elanor couldn’t respond, she wanted to hide but couldn’t walk away. His tousled hair and smiling, kind face seemed to welcome her in, but she didn’t want to welcome anything that may make the torrent start again. It had been a year, but her father still remained a looming threat. She had to move last month, he’d found her address, the letter was now a pile of ashes in her fireplace. She pointed to a cluster of bookshelves to the left, a hint of a smile on her face.
“Thank you so much! I can’t wait to find out if they’re Dr. Seuss or not! The name’s Albert, what’s yours?”
“Ela.” Why had she said Ela? The only one that could call her that was her mom.
“Ela, it’s nice to meet you,” Albert said as he began walking towards the books she’d indicated. “I’ll see ya around.”
Three months later, the tempest arrived. A threatening monsoon of destruction. Ela sat at her desk at the library, she couldn’t contain it any longer. Last night had been horrendous. A tear escaped, landing on the page in front of her. She felt an arm around her, steady and strong, comforting instead of frightening. It was Albert.
A month later and somehow Albert had become her anchor and rudder. He’d propelled her out of the hurricane and had become the strength she needed. The storm had passed, she could see it in the distance but no longer felt it’s cold tendrils creep towards her. He had become her best friend.
“Wanna get a coffee…with me?”
“I’d love to Al.”
Two weeks after she’d realized he was her best friend, they’d gotten coffee. A simple act and yet it changed the course of both their lives. The espresso was poured and they laughed about his obsession with origami turtles, the milk steamed and they took bashful glances into each others eyes. Their smiling faces were lent color from the steaming mugs and burning hearts.
A year later, right next to the Dr. Seuss books he proposed. And in an instant all the clouds were chased away, they couldn’t hurt her anymore because she had him, her Albert. She had fought it at first, she always felt as though the typhoon would grow and grow until she could no longer stay afloat and then she’d drown. The courage would drain and she’d be an empty shell. She no longer had to stand alone. Finally.
Ela graduated and began teaching at a small school near their quaint home on Cavendish Lane. She still found time to work at the library for a few hours each week. She couldn’t leave the place that had brought her such comfort and joy. Through her the children learned about the magic of books, how the words could come alive. How they could give them courage or inspiration, and perhaps one day they too would find their own fairy-tale.
The raindrops rolled away far too quickly as they caressed the window. Each memory, good or bad, left a sweetness in Elanor’s spirit. She watched a droplet of memory pass that showed her at the age of eight, looking out the window at the pouring rain. She couldn’t see the happiness, didn’t think it was possible and yet here she was now. Time had been kind to her, she found that fairy tale.
Elanor recalled Albert shambling about, a stack of books balancing in one hand and a coffee in the other. She remembered his mischievous smile and strong arms. His unbending force. But just like the droplets, Albert disappeared all too soon.
She felt a calmness as she too waited to join their procession.