She put the book back on the dust-lined shelf and, as she sat down at the table, inhaled the musty but familiar smell of the old library. She had been coming here since she was a small child and this building had watched her grow in so many ways: picture books, tween paperbacks, teen romance, and adult non-fiction.
She quickly typed the title of the book now shelved and added the author and the ISBN to the spreadsheet on her computer labeled, "To Read Next".
With only a few more minutes before the library closed, she knew she needed to put her things away and check out the stack of books perched on the table beside her.
It was hard for her to leave that night, just like every evening she had spent in the library before this. But, she knew she had to go so she gathered her belongings and made her way to the check-out desk.
She handed the librarian the stack of books she wanted to check-out and passed her a handwritten note.
The note read, "Thank you for working here. I love coming here and, without your efforts, I don't think the library would be the same. I am deaf and cannot hear the conversations and expressed emotions around me. But, in the world of books, I can! I love it when I can "hear" communication in the text. Thank you for making that possible for me."
...and the librarian, with tears welled up in her eyes, reached over the counter and touched the girl's arm and said, "Thank you", hoping that the girl could read lips.
The girl looked into the well-worn eyes of the librarian and nodded her head up and down in agreement.
The girl saw and felt emotion. Maybe she didn't need to "hear" communication after all.
~ Denise ~
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