The Library - A Place to Revisit - Three
A Tree-Lined Street in Town
Three - Friend or Foe?
He has a lot on his mind – planning to invite Miriam over, there is some sprucing up around the house to be done. Jerry tidies up his bookshelf which has books and papers on it shoved in at different angles. He cleans up finding dust in places never imagined, throwing out a fair amount of unused things such as old medicines and papers.
A few items of his collection of objects of interest live in the uninhabited room. There’s a very old bicycle, some glass bottles from yesteryear, a ceramic vase and other interesting collectibles. There's a desk where he sees to business on a desktop computer.
All the activity makes Jerry tired; he collapses into his favourite chair in the lounge and thinks about what to do next: invite Miriam over, is the obvious conclusion. She says she will come over for tea on Saturday afternoon, this suits him fine. He stocks up on food, seeking out some bottles of good wine for when the occasion arises. Jerry dusts off the electric fans, the temperature is starting to rise considerably of late.
“Hi there, welcome to my humble abode!” he says invitingly when she arrives. “Did you find the place easily?”
“Yes, no problem” she replies.
“Come through, tea or something cool to drink?”
“Something cool would be nice thanks”
“Let’s see, we have Sprite, grape juice, fridge water with ice,?”
“I’d really like some juice, with ice”
“Grape juice it is then. You hair looks nice” he adds.
“Oh, there’s no need to flatter me, I know I’m not twenty anymore.”
“No really, you look fantastic.”
Enjoying a cold drink together they talk for ages. The phone rings but it’s the wrong number, Jerry serves some cake bought especially for the occasion. The afternoon passes quickly and they enjoy each other’s company – he invites her for lunch the following day, planning to cook something over the fire outside. Later Jerry sits alone outside pondering the future, as evening approaches he notices the garden needs watering. The sun sets crimson and gold; it’s been a good day.
Although she hasn’t mentioned it to Jerry, Henk has been to see her at the library. Somehow he’d found out about them seeing one another and had tried to invite her out - she’d declined. Henk, who isn’t much of a book person, joined the library purely to try to persuade Miriam to join him for coffee. He told her he really liked her. Politely she’d said she was seeing someone and couldn’t accept his offer.
When Miriam goes to Jerry’s on Sunday, tentatively she mentions Henk's advances towards her.
“Henk came to the library the other day and invited me for coffee” she tells him.
“I knew he would do something like that” Jerry replies.
“I didn’t accept his offer so that’s that!”
“I would like to think so, but you don't know Henk, he's a bit of a....”
They’re outside, Jerry serves wine and is just starting to cook some meat on the fire when they realise that someone is at the front door. Miriam goes to see who it is - she returns with Henk. They’ve hardly finished greeting one another when Henk bluntly says to her, “Are you going out with this loser? You won’t be happy with him!”
Jerry can’t believe his ears but decides not to over-react. Hiding his fury he replies before Miriam can “I’m sure Miriam wouldn’t be here if she didn’t want to be.”
“Hah, with your arthritic old hands you should be in frail care!”
“I can still use my hands; right now I’m cooking with them. I think you should leave Henk!”
“Leave? Alright I’ll leave but Miriam is coming with me, aren’t you dear?”
“No, I’m staying here with Jerry!” she says, giving Henk a steely look.
Muttering under his breath, Henk storms out. Peace reigns again; they can’t help but talk about the rude interruption; she’s really not interested in Henk at all. He has a jealous heart, always seeming to want what others have. They both wish he’d grow up and stop being such a troublemaker.
Let it be said that Henk does have a good side to him; he shows generosity at times and is always willing to help out. Jerry knows Henk will probably apologise for being out of line, at some time and that they will probably be friends again. This has been the nature of their friendship over the years – they’ve never had a complete falling out...
But Henk doesn’t give up on Miriam, phoning her at work and home trying to convince her that he’s the better man. Miriam asks him to stop calling but he persists and visits her at home one evening. She finally loses her cool: “Please stop bothering me; I don’t want to see you!” she almost shouts.
Henk is taken aback - looking shocked and hurt, not saying a word, he turns and leaves, never to harass her again. This time there is defeat, it will take some time before he tries to reconcile with Jerry – Henk knows that he’s in the wrong but is too proud to admit it right now.
Jerry and Miriam are content together, they go for a stroll around town one evening. There’s lightening in the distance, deep gentle thunder follows, soon it will rain. They walk hand in hand, stopping for a while opposite the church that Jerry used to attend.
Its structure is similar to the library; old, with white thick walls; some of the windows are stain glass. His faith has waned over the years, he thinks he might want to start going to church, rekindle his faith in God. After Mara died Jerry lost hope, he's spiritually empty.
They gaze at the quaint building then walk on. Light rain starts to fall; it’s intensity increases; they almost jog home.
Jerry has a plan forming in his mind to go hiking in the mountains with Miriam, despite her not being much of an outdoors type. She suggests they invite Alan and his wife Sandra with, for company and added safety. Miriam is afraid of snakes and the possibility of falling and hurting herself; although liking nature she’s never been very athletic.
It will just be for the day, with lots of stops along the way, maybe a swim in the river. They’ll have lunch there; take a flask of coffee with. Miriam sees the charm of it and wants to go; she’ll have to get some walking shoes and a sun hat though.
“I’ll see if Alan and Sandra are available and we’ll go next week-end.” Jerry says. “Are you available?” he adds.
“Yes I am, I’m really looking forward to it; we’ll be safe won’t we?” she asks with a searching look.
“Yes I’m sure we will be.”
Planning the outing one evening they decide to put it off for a few weeks to enable them, especially Miriam, to practise walking. Jerry hopes the weather won’t be too hot, he knows how strenuous hiking in high temperatures can be.
He revisits the library. Before leaving, with a pile of books under his arm he gives Miriam a mischievous wink.
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© 2015 David Edward Lynch