The Private Library

The Private Library
Image provided by
Johan A @ https://www.flickr.com/photos/jophan/

His grandfather’s library was a place of masculine enticement. The oak paneling covered all but the wall where the large bay window was with its padded bench for people who wanted to read by natural light. That wall was dressed with a solid color of faded peach. The carpet, thin with wear in the traffic paths of the room, was dusty from lack of care. Still, the place was stocked full of books from the ceiling to the floor on three walls except for where there were Victorian chairs sitting sparsely against the walls. In the center of the room a laid out sitting area seemed to be beckoning to those who entered the gallery. It had been ages since Andy had been in this room. Now, at the reception of the old man’s funeral, the warmth ceased to exist the way it had before.

He read the titles of the books on the shelves of the east wall, seeing if he recognized any of them from his childhood. There on the shelf at eye-level were all the books written by Charles Dickens: A Tale of Two Cities, David Copperfield, A Christmas Carol , Great Expectations, The Old Curiosity Shop, and his favorite, Oliver Twist. This wasn’t the version with music; it was the original story with all of the suspense and drama.

He pulled the book from the shelf and a letter slipped out of its pages and fell to the floor. The yellowed paper was folded neatly into perfect thirds. The parchment was tearing just slightly in places around the edges. Taking it to the sitting area, he carefully opened it up. He sat down on the loveseat as he read the first line.

 My Dear Love,

The days have been soggy at best over here in this strange land. The temperature gets colder with each passing day as my buddies and I crawl through the mud to snuff out the enemy. When there is time to rest, we make crude mats out of the branches of the pine trees that seem to be everywhere here, and put them as close to the other tress as possible so that we’re not in the muck.

I dream of the day when I can come home to you and our young son. I long to sit by the fire with you in my arms and nothing but the cracking of the burning wood disturbing us. I think of the times we will have when we are teaching little Robert to ride his first horse and how to take proper care of a loving dog.

The word is that this awful war will be over soon. I pray for this every night. Three years is way too long.

You are in my thoughts every minute of each day, Lily. I will be coming home. I promise you this.

With all of my love,  

Andrew         

A tear fell from Andy’s check just missing the papyrus of his grandfather’s letter to his grandmother. He had always know there was a special bond between the two of them, but, somehow, this letter crystallized it for him.

He put the letter in the book and placed it back on the shelf next to David Copperfield. He walked out into the foyer where he saw Lily standing with her friends. He walked up to her waiting for a break in their conversation. When it finally came, he hugged her tight and said, “I love you, Grandma.”

Prompt from Today’s Author @ http://todaysauthor.com/2014/11/18/write-now-prompt-for-november-18-2014/

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18 Replies to “The Private Library”

  1. Finding a tucked away note after time has passed is such an appealing story aspect. My grandpa used to write all kinds of notes to my grandma. They’re fun to go back and read now. I’m glad grandma kept them.

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    1. My paternal grandfather couldn’t write except for his name. My maternal grandfather died way before I was born. Neither of them would have been the type to write anyway. They were men who worked 16-hour days. Still, I had a great uncle who wrote my great aunt when he was over in Korea. My heritage isn’t completely peasant-ridden. (No, no shame in it either.) 😛

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  2. This is amazing, Glynis, it really is. I loved how it opened “His grandfather’s library was a place of masculine enticement,” and it unfolded nicely…. GREAT job 🙂

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        1. I think that you would seeing you’re of the male gender. 😛

          Yeah, I know. Not all men see the artistic appeal in things that are masculine. For that matter, not all women do either.

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  3. Very nice, Glynis. I love the descriptions. I read your comment about writing a letter to hubby even though you live in the same house; we do the same in our home. My husband and write letters to each other, not as often as we did before though. My oldest daughter is making sure the art of the handwritten letter is staying alive.😄

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  4. There is a type of warmth to a library – the closeness and earthiness of the wood, the linen covers, the aged print and inked plates. I can smell and feel those things now.

    This is a room made for quiet and comfort – the perfect hiding place for such a letter; which at the same time prompts an invasion with its references to the miseries of WWI.

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