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Meredith Linden, 15 Jul '13

Juliet used her badge to enter the library through the back door. The muggy walk made her plenty hot so she was thankful for the AC. At 3:00 pm on a Wednesday, the library was in full swing, no time to mess around. She placed her things at her typical desk area (everyone had some semblance of a regular area, even the part-time employees) and checked the schedule. Happy to see she wasn't out on the circulation desk the first hour, she made her way over to a far desk. She tapped on Dirk's shoulder and he spun around in his chair.

"Heyyyyy! How's my girl?"
Juliet's shoulders dropped, she smiled half-smile, and said, "I'm ok" with a sigh.
"That's a hell of a sigh and an 'I'm trying to make it but just barely doing it' ok."
"Well, the last few days have been nothing less than complicated with a capital C. It's good to be back here for some fresh air."
"Ha! Now I know you've gone nuts to call this place fresh air. I sure have missed you."
"Thanks, Dirk. I've missed you, too. Are we on desk at all together?"
"I think maybe one hour, but we may have schedules allowing for a break together, too. So what's been going on?"
"Ugh. I really can't get into it right now. Maybe later, ok?"
"Sure. Whatever you need, Jules."

Working at the library did not necessarily provide Juliet with the mental stimulation she needed to forget what was going on at home. However, she needed to be present with what she was doing so it did help some. She was on check-in first and walked over to the counter, saying "hi" to Teresa on her way. Of those who were there, Juliet, Teresa, and Dirk had been at the library the longest and were close in age. New people came and went, but the three of them were happy with their jobs and their surroundings. Though they didn't spend much time outside work together, they worked well as a team and appreciated that about each other.

Teresa said, "Hey Juliet. Good to have you back. Hope you're back for the long haul! We go some new shelvers yesterday." The last bit was said with a sneer and eyeroll.
"Yep, I'm back. Just needed a few days to take care of some things at home. New shelvers? Great. Training ground again. Do any of them have any experience?"
"I think, of the three, one does. Better than none, eh?"
"Yeah, I suppose."

Juliet grabbed the books in the bookdrop and started checking them in, sorting them into shelving areas. She wasn't quite a librarian; she would have had to take some classes for that and school wasn't that close by. The college was in Columbus and there was no satellite campus in Schuyler. That was where not having a car was a problem. She'd thought about various ways to get to school but working part-time didn't help matters either. Now she had bigger fish to fry, so to speak, and could not think about such things. Who knew?

After her hour stint on check-in, Juliet was on circulation desk (circ) with Dirk. She loved their time at the desk, as it made the time go by quickly. Sure, she loved her job, but sometimes the people drove her nuts with their not having cards or ID and expecting to check out books or other shenanigans. There was a constant flow of patrons acting as if they'd never been to the library before. Dirk was hilarious and had her laughing about it all the time. It was a great distraction and mood lightener for her. She almost forgot about Alex for the whole hour.

They both had desk duty time for two hours next. Each assistant had certain tasks he or she did behind the scenes. Sometimes it was putting new spine labels on media, others it was entering new books. Some people always did the same thing at their desk duty time. Juliet actually rotated through a few tasks. They were in the backroom so were hidden from the patrons, but they had to be careful about the volume of their conversations. They couldn't yell across the room to talk. So much of the time went by without conversation.

Dirk went by Juliet's desk to retrieve her for break. She grabbed her dinner and walked with him back to the kitchen.

"I noticed you got lighter out there on circ. Are you feeling any better?" asked Dirk.
"You always have that effect on me," she said as she bumped him with her body while they walked. He bumped her back, turned his head and looked at her. She could feel him staring but resisted the impulse to look back.

She heated her food and they sat down across from each other and ate. She knew they'd be coming, the questions and she steeled herself for the ensuing conversation, whatever it may be.

"So," Dirk started, "What's going on at home? You have no pets, no people, is there a plumbing issue?"
Juliet smiled. The plumbing issue was a running joke of theirs. She'd had to be out for three days to due her pipes freezing the first winter she worked there. "No," she said, "Not a plumbing issue, thank goodness. Worse. Someone I haven't seen in 15 years showed up literally on my doorstep this weekend."
"To stay with you?"
She nodded.
"Why after 15 years?"
"That's what I'm not sure about. She had cancer and a few surgeries and other treatment. She says they didn't get it all and implies she's dying."
"Holy shit. Why you? After all that time."
"She's my ex," Juliet said with a mouthful.
"What was that? I didn't catch that."
"She's my ex."
"Oh. Hmmm. 15 years? Really? You had to be all of, what, 17, 18?"
"18. And, yes, I've slept with women. I refuse to categorize myself, though, so don't go there."
"I'm glad you said it. I didn't want to go there. So what's her name and where's she been for 15 years?"
"Alex and I don't really know. She's a musician and left with her band all those years ago. It was a big deal then. I'm still trying to get over it. It seems her popping up has just made it all come back."
"I could see how that might happen. Do you want to stay with me for a night? Get some space?"
"Heh," Juliet chuckled. "That would be a different kind of space but probably not the kind I need right now."
"Well, you know where to find me. The offer is an open one."
"Dirk, I really appreciate that. I like having options."
"So you've got a bunch of emotional shit coming up."
"Yep, that's about the size of it."
"Ick," said Dirk.
"Yep. Ick."

They finished their dinners and went back to their desks for their last hour. Juliet was working on some new books when Teresa went over to her desk.

"Juliet, someone's here to see you."
"Hunh? That doesn't make sense. I don't know anyone who would come..."

Juliet walked out to the library floor and saw Alex, sopping wet, rifling through the free leaflets.

"Alex, what the hell?"
"I was missing you. I thought I'd come by and walk you home."

Comments · 3

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  • Orlando Ramos said...

    Guess there's no getting away from the problem, even at work right? Nicely written! Reminds me of something else

    • Posted 8 years ago
  • Orlando Ramos said...

    Haha and now I know, It almost slipped my mind that you had written that first part before. The character's seemed so familiar but I couldn't place them until I looked at your profile. I hope there's a third part!

    • Posted 8 years ago
  • Meredith Linden said...

    Thanks for reading and commenting, Orlando! I've written more in between, too. It's just that I'm not posting everything. These two parts have come when I wanted to write but sitting in front of Word and the end of the last written segment just weren't inspiring me. so I've come on here to just write and make it so it's a full piece that makes sense, not just a part of something bigger. It's an interesting way to do it for sure!

    • Posted 8 years ago