Posts Tagged library
She rested her head against the ledge and closed her eyes. The water whirled around her knees creating small sprays of bubbles, not unlike what she had seen at the beach. She turned her head to one side and heard the satisfying crack in the back of her neck. She turned her head to the other side, heard the pop and suddenly could not take her eyes from what she saw in the corner of the bathroom.
Next to the wastebasket was a large, bring pink cylinder with rounded ends. She knew what it was instanty because of the color. She climbed out of the tub and, dripping wet, slowly approached as if the object was alive and could attack at any moment. She crouched down and looked closely. The handle was covered in rhinestones. It was almost the size of the one she had seen on the computer screen at the library.
She blinked several times, a hot fear creeping up her back. She tried to put together that she was in her parent’s master bedroom and seeing this toy. She couldn’t. She was afraid to get closer to it, just like when she was about to kill a spider, fearing that it would rise up and swallow her whole. The ribbed surface and curves made her want to touch it, but she knew she never could. She had no idea where it came from or who had used it. She couldn’t imagine how it got into her parent’s bathroom. There had to be some kind of mistake. Her parents barely watched TV and had never seen an R-rated movie as far as she knew. How would they even know what this was?
Her mother came outside dressed in a cerulean sundress. Her white blond hair was in a French twist and she looked ten years younger with her eyes lined in silver.
“How is Gertrude?”
“She fine. She has a boyfriend.”
“Oh, that’s nice. What does he do?”
“I really don’t know,” Ala lied.
“All right. Well, dad and I are going out. I’ll see you later.”
Her mother looked at her for an extra second, and then stepped back inside, sliding the door closed behind her. A veil of depression swept over Ala as she thought of how her parents were going out while she was hanging upside down on this swing, wasting the best years of her life.
She stood up and stretched, then looked at her watch. 9:15pm. The library would be open for another hour. She got her backpack from her room and locked the front door behind her. The sun was setting as she walked down the rolling hill to the library, remembering that she would have to do her research there because since her wallet was missing, she wouldn’t have her library card available to check out books.
This was also perhaps the closest up she had ever seen male genitalia and instantly felt grimy because she was doing so in such a public place. This after all, was a place for the elderly to come and look at the newspaper or children to join the summer reading challenge. Not a place for smut. In fact, even in a town as small as Pilkington, say 30,000, Ala could think of a lot of dirty places where people might exchange and discuss photos such as the one staring her in the face. The parking lot behind the supermarket, where boys wait to collect carts, was definitely a possibility. Also, the park a few blocks over, where tweens had sex in the slides during the night, was also the place for this kind of picture.
She took a few more moments to study the image before reaching around the side of the monitor and pushing the button that shut down the machine. She thinks of telling a librarian on duty, but decides it’s no use. It would only call attention to her and she didn’t want that many people in town finding out she was back from Boston. Being away for less than a year sounded strange, especially in a place where people hardly ever moved away.
It sort of jumped out at her, or seemed to, as much as anything behind a glossy computer monitor screen could. The rubbery property of it seemed to dangle even though it was part of a still image. The color made it seem for a moment that there was a chance it could possibly be something other than what she assumed it was. Ala looked both ways to make sure no one was peering over her shoulder, or even was watching across the room, the image being so blatant and unapologetic.
Logging on as a guest in the Pilkington Public Library this morning, she certainly did not expect to be greeted with the image of a large, rippled and nearly gray penis. Surely computers in libraries had strict administrative rules. She could not even secure an Internet connection in the past when she tried to look up the name of an Etruscan burial site for a term paper she was laboring over. How someone managed to find or import this kind of photo, and more baffling, leave it for someone else to find, was past her ability to comprehend.