There was a library that existed underground. I remember climbing down flights of stairs, the sunlight from the upper levels being replaced by electric lights as I descended. There was an area adjacent to the structure that had been cleared so that sunlight could filter in through the East side.
I miss that place. In my mind it is so real, and its replacement so phony, that I understand in some small way the effects of senescence.
I’m not trying to be profound, I just want my fucking library back. I want back the days of walking through my neighborhood after school, of enjoying school, of crisp fall afternoons and veggie burgers bought at the deli. I want my knee-high socks and the bedroom my mother redecorated as a 17th birthday present.
I want that feeling of belonging, the way I did at school, in my bedroom, in that tiny, gloomy library. It felt so beautiful to me, so unseen. I had convinced myself that someday someone would see it, and love it, and it would be safe. Preserved. Protected. Cherished.
They did see it, and they decided that it wasn’t good enough. They dug it out and replaced it with a structure that feels cold and soulless. I place a hand to its exterior wall and I feel nothing. No buzz of secrets waiting to be revealed. No buzz of life, of love, of knowledge. I remove my hand and walk away.
The underground location has a predecessor, across the street. No longer a library, but extant nonetheless. Safe, preserved, protected, cherished. Filled to the brim with life, joy and love.
In my dreams, I imagine its demolition. Rubble crashing through those east windows, the small door and hallway above ground giving a cry of betrayal as it sunk into the earth-hidden structure below.
In reality, I did not watch. It was too personal. I turned and walked away.