The kids come running down the stairs, breathless with anticipation.
Before they even reach my desk I hear them ask, “Miss Beth can you
recommend something I would really, really love?” At other times the
little kids who are too shy to ask about a specific movie or story
prod their parents to ask on their behalf. I try not to take it
personally, I know with time I will win them over. Asking for
something isn’t always easy, until you see what it can get you. This
is especially true at the Library, where the choices are as limitless
as the stars in the sky. You just have to know what you like. Or in
the words of author Jonathan Safran Foer, books that you ‘love, love,
After a long day when I finally arrive at home, I am often greeted
with: “It’s late, are you okay?” “Did you get everything done you
wanted to accomplish?” I take it in stride, wishing I could make the
transition from home to work a smoother one. But it’s not who I am.
T’s questions for me have become more and more frequent the older he
gets, the Hows and Whys of his childhood replaced with an equally
endless stream of inquiry. “Can you get this for me?” “Can you pick me
up?” “Can I eat these leftovers?”
Very occasionally, with all the subtly and stealth of a ninja, he will
slip in a “Do you remember when you were in high school?” The question
forming a connection between us that is silvery and tenuous. I can
only hope that this filament has the supposed strength of a spider’s
I remember some moments clearly. The waiting for the phone to ring,
the butterflies when it did, the cord extra long to allow me and my
sweaty palms some privacy from the small ears of younger sisters.
Talking and talking for what seemed like hours on end. Waiting to
hear: “Will you dance with me?” “Will you be my date for the prom?”
“Will you wear my ring?”
College and the conversations soon after brought me so many queries,
enough that you could hang your coat on the ever present end mark. I
felt like I was still questioning who I was and what I wanted to be.
But after I found the perfect job I met someone who asked me: “Want to
go out?” “Want to stay over?” “Want to meet my parents?”
And then there was the waiting for the big question, the one that
could change everything. All the others had been stepping stones to
this. At the end of our vacation, before M and I got in the car to
head back home, he asked me.
I closed my eyes. All I could see was yellow; it was golden and
memorable. I said yes.
Somehow that little five-word question had the extraordinary power to
bring me from that moment to this.