It was quiet and dark in the library, the best place in the world for Lindy Harris. She hated the hustle and bustle of regular high school, where everyone always laughed at her. It wasn’t that she was ugly, mean, or dumb. It was because she had lost the ability to walk.
At her old school, where everyone had known her since the third grade, it hadn’t been a problem. They knew she was nice and liked to go where everyone else did. It was only when her step-father got a job transfer that she had a problem. She had had to leave all her old friends and move half way across the country, to a place where people avoided her eyes and giggled when she went by. It was hard to imagine that anything would ever change for her here.
She rolled over to the shelves and selected her favorite book. It was a poetry book, the one that she read every day when she finished with her homework. She was stunned by the atrocity that had occurred. Somebody, she didn’t know who, had written underneath her favorite poem in big, bold, nasty handwriting. To someone who didn’t love books, that wouldn’t have been a problem, but she had been taught to respect literature. She gritted her teeth and clenched her fists. She looked up at the plump librarian, wondering if he would know who had done this.
She looked back down, noting not just the text now, but the writing itself. It said:
Dear Hot Wheels,
You are beautiful. I just wanted you to know that.
Your Secret Admirer
Hot wheels? Lindy’s hands shook. She shut the book and looked both ways, as if expecting the person who had written the note to come falling out of the woodwork. She went over to the librarian and showed him the book, trembling as she watched him read it. Once he was done, he looked her straight in the eye. One thing for sure, this had never happened at her old school.
She had never even had a boyfriend, as embarrassing as that was
What surprised Lindy even more was when the librarian said, “Do you know what the odd thing is about this entire ordeal? This isn’t even our book.”
“Huh?” Lindy’s eyes widened.. “Of course it is. I’ve been reading poetry from this book for the past month. It’s the same one. I remember the first poem because it was my absolute favorite.”
“Look,” the librarian said, bending behind the desk. Because Lindy’s wheelchair was seated very low, she was unable to see him for a moment. When he resurfaced, he had the same poetry book, except that this one had a white sticker with a bar-code on it. “This is ours. No one has written on it. I have no idea who owns that poetry book, but it certainly isn’t one of ours.”
“But how could somebody know that I’ve been reading this? It isn’t like I checked the book out. I just read it during lunch.”
The librarian smiled. “I don’t know. Maybe somebody has a bit of a crush on you, Lindy. You are in high school, you know. Is it so surprising?”
Lindy lowered her eyes and flushed. Yes, it is. She hadn't been this embarrassed in two years, when her eight-year-old next-door neighbor had called her beautiful and asked her to marry him.
“Hold onto the book for a while.”
The librarian didn’t say anything, just studied her. Feeling her breathing increase, she took the book back from the librarian and went to her usual table, but she could barely concentrate. Wouldn’t the book be better off in the lost and found? It had been a goofy message, a love note, but that was all. Maybe it hadn’t even been intended for her eyes. Maybe there was somebody in the school that really, really enjoyed rollerblading, for example.
Those thoughts tangled in her mind as the bell rang to go to class. She stared at the shelf and then at the book that she held in her hands. If she kept the book, then she would have to admit that the note was for her. If she put the book back, then that would confuse the librarian as well as the person who had sent the note. If she put the book in the lost and found, then that was almost like a refusal. She thought threw the boys that could have written the note. There was a boy in her science class that sent her glances after he had spied the one hundred she had gotten on her test…Maybe? She frowned in frustration.
She gave the book one last look and slipped it into her backpack, rolling off toward her American History class.