“ You must be Clara,” a woman says when she approaches the main desk in the middle of the library. She has wispy salt and pepper bangs and a lined face, very thin.
Clara nods her head in response.
“ Welcome to our library,” She shakes her hands. “ I’m Jennifer, director of this library. I am glad that now you will be an important part of our library. “ Come, I will show you everything. Clara follows ms. Jennifer.
“You will be in charge of the circulation desk, but usually you also collect late fees, take care of the frisky printer, check in the books. Remember, always assist our patrons with a big smile.”
“Thank You, I will.” Clara steps in behind the desk and grabs the edge of the mental cart for support. Today is her first day in this job. At the end of the day, the director says, “Don’t forget to wear a Halloween costume tomorrow. It is storytime for the children.”
Next day, Clara finds a long white gown in her mom’s closet and decides to wear that. Instead of a tight bun, she keeps her hair loose. She glances herself in the mirror one last time. It is perfect, she resembles Emily Dickinson.
When she walks into the library, Jennifer looks at her. “Oh dear, did you wake up late?”
“ No, Clara says. “ Usually, I wake up very early.”
Jennifer frowns. “Why are you wearing a nightgown? Did you forget to wear a costume?”
“ This is my costume.” Clara replies and glances at her own white dress to check if anything wrong with that.
“Are you the pop singer Lady Gaga?”
“ No, no, she smiles. “I’m Emily Dickinson.”
“The poet!” Jennifer adjusts her eye-glass on her small nose and tries to check the costume again.
“Yeah.” She still tries to figure it out.
“Towards the end of her life, Dickinson was kind of hermit and only wore white.”
“Huh.” Jennifer turns her attention to the paperwork.
Around one fifteen, Jennifer comes running to Clara’s desk.
“Ian isn’t coming in today.” She gasps for air. “You’ll have to do the storytime for the kids.”
“But, I’ve never done this before, Clara says,her head spinning.
Jennifer frowns. “ It is easy, just pick up a few Halloween story books for the children, read the stories, sing one or two songs and at the end give them the candies. It will be over is thirty minutes.”
“Sing songs?” This is getting worse by the second.
Clara grabs the story books from the book rack, a special Halloween display, picks up the big ceramic candy bowl and runs to the kid’s section.
Clara steps in to the overly decorated children’s room and smiles at the kids. Her heart stops to gallop.
One small girl in a Medieval princess costume stares at her.
“Did you forget to comb your hair this morning?”
“She is the girl from a TV serial.” Her mother says to her daughter.
“She’s not, her daughter says, rolling her eyes. “She’s lady Gaga.”
Clara shakes her head. “No..I..” Her cheeks flares up.
“Lady Gaga doesn’t wears pajamas,” a tiny voice says, cutting her off. “ I think it is the pirate.” A boy in Star War Yoda costume comes forward.
Another boy in a Spiderman costume walks towards Clara. “She is the ghost of Christmas past?”
All the sixteen kids turn back to stare at Clara. Clara shifts herself in a small chair. This is much worse than she anticipated. She takes a deep breath and claps her hands together.
“ Let me sing a beautiful song before I proceed to a wonderful ghost story.” She offers them her friendliest smile. The kids lean forward on their seats. Parents take a deep breath.
“Hope- Hope is the thing with feathers.
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without words..” The poem hangs in the air and the kids just stare, silent.
“Are you a ..bird?”
“Hush,one of the parent asks the boy to be silent.
Clara glances around at the tiny faces. She guesses they’re a little young for this type of poem. “Okay let’s get started. I will read you the story of White dog.” She holds up the book.
The air erupts in cheers and shouts.