Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: The Book Store/Library (06/03/10)
TITLE: Literary Love
By Sarah Heywood
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Plip. Plip. Plip The drops of rain bounced off Sandra’s umbrella and hit the pavement. She didn’t mind. After all, the rain merely echoed her heart.
Another blind date and another wasted night…Sandra sighed. Why was finding Mr. Right so difficult? This was date number thee within the same number of months and Sandra was no closer to finding what her heart yearned for. Everywhere she looked, she saw couples -- couples strolling along the same city blocks she now trod, couples pushing strollers together out at the mall, and even excited couples coming into the realty office where she worked, eager to take the next step of coupledom after marriage. But Sandra remained alone.
Her sister, (juggling a baby on her hip, and pausing every three seconds to warn her two grade-schoolers in the background,“That’s It!”) had informed Sandra just yesterday that she thought she was “too picky.” After all, she said, “You are thirty-five now, you know!” As if Sandra had to be reminded! But did getting older mean she had to settle? Did she need to settle for tonight’s date, Mr. Napkin-Around-His-Chin? Sandra shook her head as she remembered the date she had just endured.
She had been hopeful as she entered the restaurant just a couple of hours before. In a few moments she would meet the latest suitor from Lonely Hearts.com. Who knew? She might be about to lay eyes on her future husband and someday she would tell their children how she walked into the restaurant, her eyes met their father’s, and the rest was magical history! Instead, Sandra soon found herself seated next to red-faced Cleve, whose first comment was, “Boy, am I glad to see you’re not one of those skinny type gals --I can tell you’re a girl who likes to eat!” His own ample belly heaved as he gasped out a “huh, huh, huh,” laughing at his own humor. Sandra knew she’d never be as slender as her sister…or her mother…or her aunt…, but she also knew she wasn’t in danger of breaking any chairs. And besides, what kind of a person brought up someone’s weight within moments of meeting them? Evidently, it was the same kind of person who tied a napkin around his neck before eating. That’s right! When the waiter brought the food, good ol’ Cleve whipped his cloth napkin around his fleshy neck and tied it. Sandra did not realize that any person over the age of four used their napkins as bibs. The evening didn’t get any better.
It wouldn’t be so bad, Sandra thought, if Cleve was a single bad date. After all, it seemed like everyone had one “bad date” story to tell. But all her dates fell into that category! Before Cleve was Adam, who actually seemed promising at first. But that was before he let it slip that he and “Mommy” shared an apartment - an arrangement he didn’t intend to change. And then there was Joe who thought that saying “goodnight” ought to involve body groping. Sandra sighed. Maybe her sister was right. Perhaps she was too picky. Maybe the problem was that she just didn’t know what she wanted to find.
Sandra paused as the light from public library pooled out to the sidewalk before her. She was surprised that the library was open on a weekend night. Didn’t people have better things to do than to go to the library on Friday nights? Well, she obviously didn’t! And Sandra found her feet climbing up the well-worn steps to the library entrance. It had been a long time since she’d been in a library. Maybe she’d find something she’d like there and take it home.
Sandra shook out her umbrella over the mat and eased herself into the quiet, cavernous, building. It smelled --old--and immediately transported Sandra back to the days of her childhood when she spent many happy hours at the library in her hometown. Slowly meandering up one aisle and then down another, Sandra let her eyes drift over the book titles. She’d know what she wanted when she saw it.
Suddenly, whiskers came into her view. They were attached to a friendly face with eyes that crinkled in a smile. The eyes were blue, Sandra noticed. “Can I help you?’ asked the face (which Sandra now noticed came with a pleasing body -- she always did like pullover sweaters), “Are you looking for something special?”
“Only you,” Sandra breathed, “Only you.”
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