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"Libbie Goes to the Show"
It was a cool, autumn day in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. Thousands of warmly toned, crisp leaves lined the cracked cement sidewalk as Libbie strolled along gazing down upon them. School was out for Thanksgiving break, and Libbie could not be more thrilled. Although a brilliant young girl, Libbie struggled in the classroom. She feared reading in front of her sixth grade class because of her tendency to stutter, yet her favorite place to visit in all of time was Mr. Linden’s library. Today, Libbie decided, would be the perfect day to get lost in the unbelievable architecture of Mr. Linden’s library.
After making her way down three blocks, Libbie finally reached her destination. From the outside, the library appeared to be rather drab and decrepit. Not any place a child would want to spend her day, but as soon as Libbie stepped foot on the pathway to the front door, her heart fluttered with excitement. She slowly opened the rusted, creaky front door, and within seconds, her eyes were lit up with joy. She gazed upon a beautifully, hand-crafted library that Mr. Linden spent his entire adulthood building. The baby blue, sky-themed walls were covered with a ceiling with thousands of glass pieces fitted together perfectly, each surrounded by glorious gold molding. It was like looking up into heaven. The checkered, tiled floors shined like the brightest sun on a flawless sea. Hundreds of dark cherry wood, sky-scraping book cases created aisles through out the enormous space, and in the center were four, beautifully crafted, leather couches just waiting for Libbie to walk over and sink into them.
Libbie peered over her left shoulder to glance at Mr. Linden. There he was, just standing there staring at Libbie with a crooked smile and intriguing eyes. He peaked over his half-moon glasses, bent over to eye-level, and asked, “Can I help you with anything today Ms. Libbie?”
The young girl responded in her angelic voice, “No thank you Mr. Linden. I’m just here to enjoy the scenery. Wouldn’t want distract my eyes with something silly, right Mr. Linden? I mean, you work so hard to build this for someone to stare at!”
“Libbie, you are so resistant to read.” Mr. Linden exclaimed. “You are one of my most frequent visitors, yet I cannot recall you ever once reading one of my novels. Come to think of it, I cannot recall ever seeing you do anything besides lye on my couch and stare at the ceiling. What if I pick one out for you? Will that inspire you at all?”
“Thank you Mr. Linden,” Libbie replied. “But I could never imagine sitting down to read a whole book. I might be in this library for years before I could finally return it!”
“Well then you better get comfy!” Mr. Linden slyly remarked.
The book Mr. Linden chose was particularly magnificent, and was sitting behind his counter, almost as if he was waiting for the day Libbie would want to read it.
“Here you go, honey. I am sure you will thoroughly enjoy this story.” He said to her as he glanced covertly, looking over his one frame and into her eyes.
Libbie slowly grabbed the book. It was almost intimidating how wonderfully colored and bound this book was. Mesmerized by the exquisite book, Libbie walked over to the same big, leather couch, and dropped herself onto the cushion. She felt almost as though her skin was crawling. Nerves, anxiety, and excitement filled her body as she slowly opened the stiff, brand new cover.
She began reading the first words. “To my d-dearest Ame-Amelia. Read this st-story to es-esca-escape the stresses of your demand-demanding job. All my-my love, Ru-Rupert.”
She peaked up over her book to find Mr. Linden smiling at her from across the isle. It was a gesture of comfort to her, and she finally convinced herself to lay back and be swallowed by the over-sized couch. She propped her tiny head up with a large, firm pillow, and flipped to the next page; chapter one.
“Baldev run faster! We cannot miss mother’s first appearance!” Mala yelled to her brother, who was now trailing far behind her.
“Mala, I am trying as hard I can!” Baldev screamed through wheezing breathes. “The ground is stinging my feet!”
Libbie began panicking. “What is going on? Who are these people? How did I get here?” She said to herself in despair. A confused, anxious Libbie peered in between two enormous, exotic green leaves at young Baldev and Mala running bare-foot in their magnificently detailed saris through a breathtaking rainforest. Her sweat dripped rapidly down her forehead as she crouched down low; Libbie pushed aside the leaves and began walking towards them. Mala stopped running as soon as she heard the plants crinkle under the covered feet of Libbie.
“Who are you? Why are you watching us?” Mala raged at Libbie.
Mala shoved through the forest getting closer and closer to Libbie. Libbie slowly backed away, but was blocked by a sky-scraping tree. Mala, now only inches away, looked straight into Libbie’s eyes. “What do you want?” Mala growled through her clenched teeth.
Libbie’s tears began rolling down her cheeks uncontrollably. “I do not know what I want! I do not know why I am here or how I got here. I promise I mean no harm! I just saw you running, and you are the only person around. I did not mean to trouble you!” Libbie explained to Mala.
Mala saw the fear in Libbie’s eyes. “Come with me.” Mala said as she grabbed Libbie’s hand and pulled her through a pathway of small pebbles.
Libbie could not believe her eyes. As they walked into town, visions of brilliantly colored clothing, overly populated streets, and hundreds of shops lined the streets of Panaji, India. The sounds of a foreign tongues overwhelmed Libbie’s ears as Baldev lead her and Mala to the beautifully draped tent where their mother was waiting.
“Our mother is about to perform!” Mala exclaimed to Libbie.
Libbie gazed in amazement as Baldev and Mala’s mother wrapped and twirled her body around in flowing, ritualistic dance moves for the crowd. Her luscious purple and red sari swung around her thin hips and arms as she maneuvered her body to create a beautiful piece of art. Their mother reached out her hand to grab Libbie’s and…
“Libbie, sweetheart, it is time to go home.” Mr. Linden whispered to Libbie as he slightly shook her shoulder.
“Wait, I need to dance. I need to find Mala. Where is her mother?” Libbie grumbled as she laid there with her eyes still closed.
“Libbie, what are you talking about honey? You are lying on my couch at the library. It is time to close up; you should go home now, it is late.” Mr. Linden clarified to Libbie.
“Mr. Linden, but the forest, the trees, where did they all go?” Libbie cried in extreme confusion.
“That must have been some dream, dear! You have not even flipped the first page yet!” Mr. Linden cackled.
“Mr. Linden, I read the whole first chapter.” Libbie testified with her meek, little voice.
Mr. Linden bent over and put his hands on his thin knees. “I know you did.” He answered with a curious wink.
Libbie slowly got up, staring into his eyes. She could not believe what had just happened. She did not realize until she closed her book and read, “Mala and Baldev Go to the Show.”
“Oh my goodness,” Libbie mumbled as she put her hand over her opened-wide mouth. Did this just happen?”
“You know Libbie, sometimes you find books that are so good they just suck you right into them.” Mr. Linden proposed with a crooked grin on his face.
With that, Libbie set the book down on the couch, and walked towards the door. “See you tomorrow, Libbie.” Mr. Linden shouted through the empty aisles, leaving her with an adventurous and exciting day tomorrow.
Libbie turned around still in extreme shock. “Yeah, see you tomorrow.”