By Gabrielle Alvarez
Most heroes I read about live in a wild, turbulent place, where one often has to look under beds and lampposts in order to get even the slightest semblance of sleep. My home is a place that people would not consider chaotic; if you can look past the rattling of books, the fluttering of pages being flipped and the incessant shushing of the librarians (as if their protests were enough to protect their ears from my squeals). I ask them this: can anyone, but a reader, hear the roaring riots of my thoughts, smell the dragon’s breath as we open hundred year-old books or see the snatching vines that pull me into their bindings like a fly meant for the taking? Can anyone but a reader complete their 150 minutes of physical education by the amount of back arching and leg flailing that happens when Harry Potter finally defeats voldemort? No. They can’t. Yet there are still people who often wonder if I miss the outdoors. I laugh at them because... I don’t. For we, as undisturbed creatures, seek shelter from the real and the mundane. Instead we aspire to feel the pang of pink and fireworks that enters through our fingers and travels to our toes when we spot the neglected stick-out of the bunch. The jewel in my cavern and the unread in their shelf. Although they have a point. As i'm sitting down with my back against the stacks of packaged imagination, vitamin D- enriched sunlight won’t slip past the cracks between the fastened books. However, once I open one, all seasons of sun, of white and green dance and tingle in my eyes. The oil stains and coffee grime adhere to the paper like icing on a cake, but that does not bother me - because the wear and tear of it all reminds me not of old age and carelessness, but of a good life. And, when I look closer at my brothers and sisters, children who perspirate the heat of a swollen mind, I know that even if they walk inside different places and different bodies, their thoughts are not careless, collided messes, but crisp, cool visions of clarity that end in satisfaction. I may not mold into soccer games or theater plays, but I do mold into the bookworm’s nook, fiercely warding off sinister snarls and smiles that tell me “it’s time to go”. Because I do not want to go. I do not want to leave my liberty, lingering in a library.