Liv in Motion
The Meeting Place. ELEVEN.
Liv waited until the class was empty of students to leave. The corner seat Mr. Bolt had assigned her made that easy. On her way out, she spotted the collection of movie posters framing the door and recognized one of them. A gold background bearing a divided shield holding the images of a king and his queen. The Lion in Winter. Her face lit up as she pointed to the poster like an excited child. “I’ve seen that one,” she said to the more spacious air. Mr. Bolt must have heard because he belted out in an ironic, falsetto tone, “Every family has its ups and downs.” She had seen the film with Grandy when she was too young to understand the full plot, but she had understood that line. At least she’d had fair warning. When had her family laughed together last? She couldn’t remember.
“Who is Katharine Hepburn?” She beamed like a contestant on Jeopardy.
“Right you are!” Mr. Bolt added. “Next, give Lawrence of Arabia a try.”
She nodded, left the room, and fell into the traffic of the passing period. Why was everyone else moving in the opposite direction? She stepped out of the oncoming push and into an alcove to steal a look at the campus map and her schedule. Latin. She could cut across the grass and avoid the crowds. E pluribus unum. She survived until lunch and then sped toward the place that offered protection, solitude, and an affectionate embrace of her curiosity.
Maybe her father was right. Don’t stray from The Word of the Lord. The carnal world will make you miserable. But the more she investigated, The Word of the Lord was a limited engagement with sixty-six books of varying readability and plot lines that sounded suspiciously like mythic counterparts or patriarchal propaganda. Thank goodness Mr. Bolt’s class would offer a heftier history of the world’s words and a place where her questions might unlock conversation instead of snapping it shut.
Having her father breathe down her neck every time she checked out a book from the library had put her on notice. She kept her Bible on her nightstand with bookmarks in Proverbs and The Sermon on the Mount, her borrowed books zipped in her backpack.
The double doors of the library had been propped open, and a cluster of bodies huddled around the circulation desk where a small dark-skinned woman stood under a suspended disco ball.
“Are you our next volunteer?” the librarian’s voice aimed toward her, though she was only two steps in. She didn’t know it yet, but the difference between some yeses and nos was monumental.
“Ummmm.” She looked back at the door from which she’d come and then at the woman, who was still focused on her. “Sure. I mean yes. Yes, I’m here to volunteer.” And Liv’s feet ushered her toward the best smile she’d seen since Grandy’s.