The Library of Little Hurts
It's is a strange place - layered with the thick smells of must and time - but what can you expect, really, from the greatest suppository of knowledge: the record of all past wrongs?
Whether real or pretend, intentional or accidental - all incidents are labeled carefully, filed neatly in their respective rows, card-catalogued, and cross-referenced by associated feeling (so they can be called up quickly, in future…).
Sometimes the system is so efficient, hurts which are not even directly associated with the moment can be called up to reference in the current situation, through weak relation... A sensory trigger, perhaps - the smell of sizzling quiche calls up the memory of grandmother’s kitchen one moment prior to receiving the news of your grandfather’s cancer - watching her tall frame topple to the floor when they told her - watching her crumple like the top of the quiche, thinking only “this is what happens when one opens the oven door too soon". Wondering if cancer really is hell, like you overheard someone saying the other day - wondering if hell would feel hotter than the gust escaping from the stove’s cracked maw as you leaned in too close, and smelled your eyelashes curling. The scent of burning hair taking you back to the moment your roommate - your best friend! - she was on fire, and you put her out. Wouldn’t let her run back into the burning building for the cat - tried to get through the door, but the smoke was too thick - you had to turn back, so you just kept repeating “the cat will be fine - he’s a cat. He’ll be fine -" like the words were a mantra. And, he was fine - but years later, the Library still holds that small, nagging fear that your friend - she might never quite have forgiven you.
See - that is how the Library works… All those worries and fears and little transgressions the Human does not know how to let go of - the Library holds them all. They are intricately intertwined, one could say - these stories and feelings which all overlap, forming endless and interwoven patterns - the threads of a tapestry, the bustling, overlapping lives of a town’s people, their stories spilling into the streets - all reminiscent of these overcrowded shelves, books tumbling to the floor. So many stories, all neatly typeset and indexed and alphabetized and plodding endlessly, endlessly across the pages.
These tomes of memory - they are painstakingly annotated. They are cross-referenced, foot-noted, and filed - some with penciled markings in the margins, accessed often - some simply gathering dust. The collection is always expanding…
And with it, the Library grows.
December 4th, 2015