by Jerry Guarino
The library was always a
place of peace and happiness for Angelo. He
remembered his boyhood days on a Saturday morning
with Dr. Seuss, Eric Carle and Maurice Sendak.
Later, when he was twelve, he would immerse
himself in the Hardy Boys mysteries; that was the
year he first noticed the high school girl
working there. The library formed his love for
reading and his reading for love. But the best
part of the library was that they let you borrow
any book and return it for free, no obligation,
just an occasional overdue fine.
Angelo eventually became a teacher and a writer,
a natural destination for someone who loved
reading. Teaching gave him time off to write; he
would often spend his afternoons in cafes grading
papers and writing with a cup of tea and a pastry.
Around 5pm, he would leave to make dinner for his
wife, Julia, a banker. Angelo and Julia were
hanging in, in spite of the economy. But nearly
all of those in the 99% had lost jobs, savings
and the value of their home in the 21st century.
Locked into that huge middle class without equity
in their home and competing with younger people
for employment, Angelo and Julia lapsed into a
loving, but stressful middle age.
What do we have for dinner, sweetheart
said Julia as she came home.
Chicken cacciatore with vegetables and a
little rigatoni said Angelo. Julia poured
herself a glass of wine. Stressful day?
said Angelo as he made the plates.
Just the usual, not enough time in the day.
How was school?
Angelo took a sip of wine. You know my kids
are great, but today a couple of them were really
off, seems like they were struggling with
something at home. Youre so lucky to work
with adults all the time.
Julia nodded. Yes, thank goodness for that
and she kissed him on the cheek. After dinner,
they settled into their routine, watching
television on the couch and going to bed early.
As the years went by, he spent more time writing
and less teaching. With writing he felt continual
progress while teaching was a year of moving kids
forward, then having to start over again with
another class, correcting the ones with
behavioral problems and inspiring those who were
there to learn. Eventually he switched to
substitute teaching; no more grading or preparing
lessons, but much less income. His assignments
took him to many schools, with different grades
and subjects to teach. The variety kept things
interesting and assured him that no one difficult
assignment would last very long. One day, he
found himself teaching first grade, something he
found extremely stressful.
That lunchtime, Angelo went into the library to
see if there were any video stories he might use.
Excuse me, do you have any reading stories.
My little ones and I need some calm this
The librarian, Anna pointed to the filing cabinet.
Right over there.
Angelo picked out a storybook video, knowing he
could mesmerize them for a while that afternoon.
Thanks, youre a life saver. Ill
bring this back later today.
That night, Anna was fixing dinner for her
husband Roger. Anna, Im home.
Anna gave him a hug and kiss, then took his
overcoat. Relax dear, dinners almost
Roger put down his briefcase and sat down to read
the paper. How was school today?
Anna began fixing plates. Oh, you know.
Same old librarian stuff, nothing that exciting.
Later that week, Angelo was at his café writing
when an attractive woman interrupted him. Angelo,
hi! Its me, Anna from the library.
Angelo looked up at Anna, holding a cup of tea.
Anna, hi. Please join me. Anna
noticed the book next to Angelos computer
with his byline. Did you write
Angelo signed one of his books and gave it to
Anna. Here you go. Who better to read my
book than a librarian? Angelo and Anna
discovered they had much in common, along with
chemistry neither of them anticipated. Within the
hour they were holding hands and planning to meet
the next day.
The affair lasted once a week each Friday for
about six months. Neither Anna nor Angelo wanted
anything complicated, no talk about family or
friends, just a couple hours of passion in an
otherwise long and stressful week. In fact, the
affair reenergized them for their spouses and
invigorated love making at home.
Then one day Angelo got a text from Anna, asking
to meet him that Tuesday at the café. This
is a nice surprise, said Angelo. Is
your husband away on business?
Anna took him to a corner booth for some privacy.
I was reading your book last night when
Roger asked me about it.
Angelo didnt seem concerned. So, you
can let him read it.
Anna touched Angelos forearm. You dont
understand. Hes a banker.
Angelo leaned forward. What a coincidence,
my wife is a banker too.
Annas eyes widened. Angelo, he saw
your last name on the book. Your wife works for
Roger! Angelo suddenly panicked and wiped
some sweat from his forehead.
Angelo, Roger arranged for the four of us
to have dinner Friday night. Angelo
realized this development was long overdue.
Roger and Anna waited in the lobby for Angelo and
Julia. When the door opened, Julia greeted her
boss and shook hands with Anna. Then Roger
extended his hand to Angelo. Its nice
to meet you. Anna loves your book. I even read a
few stories myself.
Julia added. How amazing is it that I work
for Roger and you have been teaching with Angelo?
Angelo and Anna tried to hide their uneasiness.
The hostess showed them to their table.
Well take a bottle of champagne,
said Roger. When it arrived, he made a toast.
Heres to making new friends. Its been
a while since we have been out on a double date.
Lets do this again soon.
Julia raised her glass, smiled and agreed. Yes,
same for us. We needed a change and new people in