I hadn’t wanted to go. Everything was so loud and overwhelming. The rattling crash of ice spilling into the glasses, grating laughter and empty conversations, and the spirals of spinning motion and color. I suddenly needed to escape.
The voices faded when I made my way up the stairs, ending finally in a dark hallway. A faint blueish light filtered through a door on the right. Pushing it open, floor-to-ceiling book shelves shivered with shadows and light from a stained glass lamp burning on an old desk. The faded red leather rocking chair waited for me quietly in a far dark corner of the room.
I sat, leaning back, and closed my eyes. Heavy stillness hovered around me wrapped in a soft blanket of peace. The clinking glasses, loud laughter, and harsh voices muted by the utter silence. Anxiety and panic drained away, and I rested quietly, rocking back and forth.
There had been no sound, but I sensed another presence breathing in the empty room. A soft sigh suddenly troubled the darkness, a whispered note of lonely sorrow floated beyond the muted blue light.
She sat, absolutely still, facing the window, her profile perfectly lit by the light. Silent, her eyes cast down, she seemed unaware I was in the room. Another sigh, soft, muted, almost caressing, but burdened by enormous sorrow.
I stood quietly, then slowly stepped backwards toward to the door. I was an intruder. Part of me wanted to reach out and comfort her, but I was torn between the need to stay and my urgent desire to leave her undisturbed.
My hand fumbled, found the door handle, and I pushed it quietly open. Creeping backwards, I slid silently through and backed down the darkened hall to the stairway.
Should I go back? Or should I force myself back down the stairs into the cacaphany of empty laughter and vacant eyes? As I made my way through the dark hall, I came across a third doorway, grabbed the handle and pushed it open. Surrounded by utter stillness and shadowy foliage, I entered a garden, lit by a canopy of stars hanging in the inky black sky suspended above. Slowly I made my way down the uneven stone steps leading to the moonlit driveway below.
Unlocking my car door, I turned to look up at the blue-lit window of the library. Barely visible, she looked down at me through the glass. As I stood frozen, she slowly up put one hand, fingers spread, and held it against the glass. Through my tears, I nodded and held up my right hand, fingers spread.