Libraries are great places to learn. My mom was a librarian so growing up I spent countless hours wandering among tall bookshelves in the children’s section. I’d sit, sprawled out on the floor, and read brightly colored books on all kinds of important childhood topics like numbers, the alphabet, and colors. I would get lost in the aisles and my mom would find me fast asleep on a corner couch in the story room after work. When I grew a little older I would visit the library after school and sit ladylike in the young adult section reading important but rather boring books on American history, the solar system and insects. In middle school I discovered the forbidden romance section, sneaked in daily to flip through steamy books, and constantly looked behind me in case anyone (especially my mom) decided to check up on me. When I was fifteen I sat in the library looking up books on topics of love again, but ventured into the how-to section hoping to find text that would teach me how to stay in love forever. I was in my first real romantic relationship. We talked every night after nine in hushed tones. We discussed things like school and grades to church and Christian values…and everything in between. I thought he was strong, smart, brave, incredibly moral, talented and just the most amazing guy in the world. I thought about him every day and together we made big plans for marriage, kids, and growing up and growing old together. But as is the case with most first loves we eventually broke up.
I still remember that one specific lesson I learned at the library. We had agreed to meet after school one day so I began carrying my backpack to my favorite nook, and on my way there I found him at a desk studying intensely from some kind of science textbook. I approached him, and I was nervous. I said hi and he did too. He asked where I wanted to hang out and if I remembered what we had talked about the night before. I said he found a perfectly good spot and it would be cool to stay there and study. So we did. For a few minutes. Pretty soon we were getting antsy and he asked if I wanted to take a walk outside. We did. We walked outside and before stepping off the curb and onto the parking lot he took my hand and held it. We took a series of careful steps and soon we were at the edge of these woods but still within eyesight of the library. He said to not be afraid and led me into the wooded area. We dodged tree branches and stumps before finally reaching a small clearing. He reached for me, held me closely and we stood there for some time. Then, he pulled slightly away and looked at me with searching eyes. I still remember the first time I learned the kissing lesson. He said don’t be nervous but I was. He lifted his hand up to my face and looked at me before closing his eyes and kissing me softly on the lips. I was speechless but excited. And we kissed again, the second time with more passion (and unfortunately more tongue and saliva- yuck). Well, we were in love back then.
Fast forward six years and now we are both grown-ups, both being twenty-one and him about to start his first real job. We aren’t together anymore but I still think about him often. He was my best memory from the library. And I still think about him and that clearing of woods whenever I drive past the library. In all honesty, I know that we were never a great couple and he would never be “The One”. But God, what a great first kiss.