The shelves are meticulously organized with books. The smell of the decaying paper of the books fills the room with a sweet musky smell. The rays of sunlight streaming in from outside make the dust particles in the air glisten. This is the long forgotten part of this library, old leather backed chairs, small desk lamps and desks ravaged in graffiti. Some of it creative others, crude. Sitting at one of the desks, a weary eyed student. He’s sipping coffee in open rebellion of the “No Food or Drink” sign. By the looks of it he’s been here for a while, shoes off, hoodie folded over the chair, and there is one more cookie left in an other wise large Tupperware container.
Surrounding him, clutter, books, paper, pens and of course cookie crumbs. He’s sitting at the back, running his fingers down the page of an old copy of Hamlet, “Now cracks a noble heart. Goodnight sweet prince. And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest” He takes a deep breath in and loudly exhales. This quote is soothing. The hoodie on his chair makes for the perfect back rest. Slowly sliding down the chair he takes notice of outside. He stares out the window watching the clouds wisp past the moon. They look like grey strands of cotton candy.
“Excuse me? Is this seat taken?”
It takes him a moment, “Um… No”
He replies, trying to mask the surprise from his voice. She places her books upon the creaky desk, and takes a seat. He can’t help but wonder why she’s chosen this particular spot to sit. He quickly takes in the surroundings, lots of empty desks. He puts down the book and opens his laptop. Her hair is medium length, blonde and messy. He thinks she’s cute. He peaks up from the screen up hoping not to be caught looking at her. She doesn’t catch him but she can tell that he’s looking. She’s brushes the hair away from her face and gives a small smile to the papers in front of her. He’s trying to think of something to say but before he can say anything,
“Hi, my names Halie. I hope I’m not bothering you by sitting here. Figured we could share the light and if I’m being honest this part of the library is creepy.”
She’s got that right, it is creepy. Its exactly the place a serial killer would hide out waiting for his or hers next victim.
“My name is Sidney.” He extends his hand, she takes it. Her hands are soft, small and cold. He doesn’t know what to do next, so his eyes dart around and he gives the slightest of smiles. She can see that he’s shy,
“So what are you working on?”
“Um, I have an essay to write. I have to pick a play and come up with something to write. Formulate my own thesis. So I chose Hamlet and I’m trying to make a case for Hamlet being … Insane. I’m trying to make a case for him having an imaginary friend, Horatio, that everyone just went a long with, it’s about the existence of Hamlet’s best friend Horatio.” He knows its farfetched but low hanging fruit has never been his forte. In this case it might be. She seems interested
“And what are you writing?”
“I’m also writing an essay. The essay is on the influence that Napster creator, Sean Parker had on Mark Zuckerberg the guy who created Facebook.” Now its his turn to be interested, he almost mimics the look that she gave him moments before.
He smiles and gives an approving nod. Sidney is embarrassingly shy but something about her makes him want to open up a bit more, and carry on a conversation. Now he begins to worry about being a distraction. There’s a long silence, “Um would you like the last cookie? I’ve had … more than I should’ve.” She looks up from her paper and smiles, “I would love a cookie.”
“I made them this morning.” She takes a bite and her face lights up,
“They’re delicious! You made these?” He can feel his cheeks redden.
“Well if you count the pre made dough as me making them then I’m guilty as charged.”
Over the next few hours they get to know one another, half heartedly write their essays and Halie even buys coffee and joins him in his “noble” protest against the sign forbidding food and drink. There’s even some loud laughter. By the time they know it the old clock reads 1:08am. Outside the clouds have disappeared and all that’s left is a crescent moon and some stars. The campus isn’t a luminescent place, so each star shines even brighter.
“Hey Sid? I don’t think I’m going to get any more of my essay done tonight. But I had a lot of fun, oddly enough.”
He can begin to feel the panic inside. Is she just being nice? Or does she really mean it? Now he begins to worry about the silence.
“Um, I had a good time to. I’m actually going to go to the coffee shop to finish my essay tomorrow. Um maybe I could repay you for the coffee?”
She grabs her stuff; he grabs his precious Hamlet book.
“I would love to, and I can buy you a cookie!”
She takes his phone and puts her number in it. She lives on the opposite end of campus. He wants to walk her home but he doesn’t know how to ask. Now as they stand outside his eyes dart around.
“I’ll see you tomorrow.”
She smiles and they head their opposite ways. The entire way home he wishes he’d ask to walk her home. It would’ve been the normal thing to do. He knows it but for whatever reason the words couldn’t formulate. Now he’s walking across the empty campus. As he walks by the science building he can see the campus deer. Every now and then they’re out on a Friday night and the drunken disorderly like to mess with them. Lately not so much, one of the younger bucks is starting to grow a mountable set of antlers. Sidney and the buck make eye contact. The buck snorts and Sidney picks up his pace.
When he finally arrives home he finds his roommate Tyler home. There is loud music playing in his room, he bangs on the door. A red-eyed, half naked Tyler answers the door.
“I just got this, this morning.” Sidney takes the small zip lock bag out of his hands and walks into his room closing the door behind him. He takes off his hoodie and opens his top drawer of his desk. There’s a small mirror and a pack of razor blades. He places the copy of Hamlet into the drawer. He pulls out the mirror and razor blades, he opens the zip lock bag…