What if in one single moment you had to choose between your greatest dream or the world?
|The snow crunched under her feet as she walked across the white-crusted lawn of the church. Had it been a sunny day, the newly fallen snow might have sparkled like diamonds, however, the sun was low in the sky and was covered by the same clouds that had sent the snow.|
The air was crisp with the scents of autumn still clinging to it like dead leaves. The changing of the seasons, a week after Thanksgiving and less than a month until Christmas, seemed to her a magical time, opening the door to the imagination.
Yes, she thought, it’s a good day for unicorns.
She remembered the days of her childhood, when she would run to the library after school to read up on the one horned wonder. It was her only escape from the world. Could she flee from her life if she found a unicorn?
A smile tugged at her lips. Perhaps she had found a way to escape. The library. Books.
She crossed the street. A light snow started up again, making the onset of evening seem magical. But it was so cold.
“Stop it!” The icy snow slipped down her shirt, biting all the way down to her pants as she struggled to free herself from the four girls who had her pinned down. “Let me go!” She kicked all the harder. She felt her foot impact something, and a small sense of triumph peeked though her distress. A child’s cry sounded, “Faye kicked me!” She felt one leg release and heard the patter and swooshing of a child in snow cloths running to get a teacher. The others let go and followed, leaving her alone face down in the snow. She turned herself over and tried to slow down her hard breathing. Oh no, Dara went for the teacher! This thought repeated itself over and over in her mind. Why did she always get the blame?
A snowflake landed and melted quickly on her nose. She brushed the water away as she pushed open the door to the library. She paused to look at the book sale rack, then still glancing around, pushed open the second door leading out of the cool breezeway and into the warm library.
“Hi, Mrs. Clarkson! Are there any books here for me today?”
The motherly woman behind the desk beamed warmly down at the little girl who peered up anxiously at her. “Why yes there are!” She turned about and pulled several books off the shelf behind her. Thrilled, the child took them, thanked her elder, and rushed into the children’s room. Nothing can express a child’s innocence better then the sparkling joy that shines out from their eyes when they receive a gift. Her books were a gift more precious than gold.
The unicorns seemed to jump off the pages, bringing her to distant lands, chasing away her fears. She became the heroine of some great epic adventure, and she never grew weary of its telling.
“Hi, Helen!” She pulled her hands out of her pockets and began to rub them hard to make them warm.
Turning around, her friend and co-worker smiled back, “Cold out?” The older woman was taping a book that had fallen apart.
“Yeah, another snow squall started up.” She stepped behind the desk and slipped off her coat, tossing it into the corner room. She make her way up the ramp past the videos and up to the second floor to get her pay cheque, climbing the stair quickly.
“You wanted to see me?” The wide eyed fourteen year old asked carefully to the library director. She stood, hands behind her before the desk, hoping she hadn’t done anything wrong. Oh, if she weren’t aloud to use the library, her life would be so horrid. She began to shake, but not very noticeably.
The woman behind the desk smiled a glow, soft and angelic. “Faye, how would you like a job here?” The girl’s eyes went wide in glee.
“Yes, I’d love to! Thank you! Thank you!” She still shaking slightly, she pushed up her glasses on her nose.
The director’s office lay empty and dark at the top of the first landing. Adele was gone, and sorely missed. She continued to the top landing, into the staff room.
It took her a moment to rummage through her mailbox, but at last, success. She tore open the envelope with her right index finger, glancing down at the figures printed on the cheque. Pocketing it, she hopped down the flight of stairs.
The remainder of the evening went by slowly, and she glided though the stacks, shelving, re-arranging volumes, and every so often finding a book for a patron. She finished her shelving early, so she began to flip though her new book.
James emerged form the shelves grinning widely. “What is it?” She asked him, seeing his Cheshire cat look. He reviled a book in his hand, Waldon. She shook her head, “I hated that, and you know it.”
“Yup, but I happen to like it, and you,” he pointed to her, still smiling, “Can’t stop me.”
She nodded, “I know.” He was smart, funny, and too darn cute for words. She set down unicorn book and leaned on the counter near the computer.
“Faaayyeh,” A male voice with a sing-song tone in it called. She glanced up at her best friend, Dave. She laughed up at him.
She set her book aside and leaned in against the counter towards him. “Hey, what’s up?”
He shrugged, “Not much. My dad sent me down here, however, to retrieve a book.”
“Oh, really,” She squinted at him he squinted back, but with only one eye. She copied him, then grinned. “Yeah, I’ll go get it.” She pulled the book down and checked it out for him. As she handed it to him, she noticed he was staring at her. “What?”
“I’m not sure, you—you don’t quite seem yourself to-night.” He paused, still staring at her, a distant look in his eye. “I don’t know, maybe it’s just me.”
She shrugged, “No, I feel fine, but maybe you’re coming down with something.” She gave him a pat on the shoulder, “Get some rest, Davy.” He glared at her. He hated that name. “See you tomorrow!” She called after him as headed out the door.
The last fifteen minutes of the evening consisted of she and Helen closing everything up for the night. Once the alarm was set, they trotted out, shutting the door tight. Helen pulled up in her car moments later. “Have a good night!”
She nodded to the librarian, little snowflakes sailing off her hair. “You too. She you tomorrow morning.” The window rolled up and the car drove off, leaving her alone.
The air was now filled with fewer autumn scents and more of winter. The season had passed in just a day. By tomorrow, fall would be but a memory. The lights outdoors shut off automatically, leaving her in darkness. She made her way to her car and unlocked it.
A movement off to her left beside the library barn caught her attention. It was the color of the snow, and had it not been breathing, she would not have noticed it at all. Its sides moved up and down with heavy breathing, puffs of white steam billowing out of its greats great nostrils. It stepped lightly forward out of the barn’s darker shadows. It was then she realized that although she was in complete darkness, the creature could be easily seen, as if it gave off its own light, perhaps even glowing as the moon does. She drew her breath as she realized whom she beheld. Blue-white was his mane, snow white his body, sliver his horn.
She didn’t know what to do or say. So wonderful this moment was, she was afraid to move lest it suddenly became only a dream. He was so ancient, and yet strong as a young stallion. She wanted to touch him, to let him know she was his. But something stopped her.
Oh, years ago she would give up her world for him, but now, she had so much to hold on to, family, dear friends, and soon collage. But her heart was still his. Not now, she thought, the time is not right just yet. She sent her thoughts to him.
The beast pawed the snow he seemed to be made of, shaking the flakes, which had settled in his mane as he nodded. He understood. Respectfully, she nodded back, but longing over came her. She ran to him, throwing her hands around his great neck as a child. And in that moment, she realized how wrong her books had been. In holding him in that one instant, she felt all the wonder and magic of childhood. To see this creature, to touch it, is to become a child.
She who had her childhood stolen had gained it in that one moment. There were no longer any regrets for her, for he never regrets. Yes, she had been right, as he faded into memory, it had been a good day for unicorns.