On Monday, Mrs. Brown e-mailed me about my library manager. She was in hospice for a few weeks, but unfortunately lost her battle to cancer. I’m still very sad about Mrs. Davenport’s death. It hit me last night after I was looking through old photos from different events that whenever we will be able to go back to the library, I will never see her again.
It also hit me that in the beginning of the year, I was extremely angry. First because of my display, then another incident. Part of the reason why I didn’t get the cataloging clerk position was they found my angry Tweet about Kobe Bryant. As someone who has survived and remembering what he did back in 2003, I was angry that people were saying about how great he was. Didn’t excuse my comment, but someone apparently took offense, found my information, and called the library. Anyway, before we were quarantine, things left on an anxious note. I was panicking about the pandemic.
I couldn’t have known, no one could have known, but I wish I got one last group photo or a photo with her before the library closed. I wish I was in a better mood and I wish I had a better attitude this past winter. However, this self-punishment isn’t helping me feel better.
I’m thankful that she hired me on 14 August 2006 to become a page. I’m grateful for her and Mrs. Collier for training me and I’m grateful that I had her as a manager for 14 years. I’m glad that she was empathetic and knew I was going through difficult times and didn’t judge me harshly. I’m glad that she still saw me as me after the 2013 incident. She still believed in me.
Here is the elegy I wrote, along with a photo from 2019.
Elegy for a Librarian
She’s reading the Bible, I think it might have been Matthew, maybe John,
I walk in quietly, hoping not to disturb her Bible study, but she looks up,
“good afternoon, may I have a private chat with you,” as she leads me to the back room,
“is everything okay? I know the years have been rough to you, but I received word,” her voice lowers;
after some tears, she hugged me, and told me if I ever needed to talk, she was here,
checking in on me day by day, an open ear and an open mind, a reference letter for Canada,
a job well done; on her part, she was patient and kind, even when others weren’t to her.
Always a smile, as chemo was dripping, radiation pulsing,
she was always dancing and singing a Gospel hymn or a bluesy melody,
tapping her frigid fingers, no feeling; a side-effect of the chemo;
winter raged on outside, a fiery hell inside, yet her delicate gloves
protect her hands and help her type out the notices that the library will be closed,
due to the governor’s orders, COVID-19 has ravaged our area,
the day before Friday the 13th, in the third month of the year,
our anxiety high, yet before she walks out that door, she hugs me good-bye,
“take care of yourself, I will see you soon.” I wave good-bye,
anger pulsing at the contagion that infects and kills, wishing I knew
that her “I wish to live” would turn into “I am fighting to live”
as quarantine and furloughs rage on, “I gave it my best shot,”
the Bible is laid to rest on her desk, Revelation, in front of an empty chair.
In happier news, I booked my vacation and found an Air bnb for $40/night. I’m going to go to Keansburg, NJ for a few days. I’ve never been there before, but the Air BNB was inexpensive, there is a higher cleaning fee this year; and I plan on taking the same precautions. Mask, gloves, my own pillow, and my own towel.
I’m excited that the Air bnb I’m staying in allows use of the kitchen. I have access to pots, pans, oil, salt, and pepper. Since I’m gluten-free and travelling on a shoe string budget, I’m excited about this! I don’t have to order out at all, which makes me happy! There’s a Lidl in Keansburg and my parents love Lidl. It’s similar to Aldi’s, so I will probably love it too. Three nights for $180, free access to the beach, home cooking. I’ll get some postcards for people and my Happiness Box. I’m quite proud of this shoe string budget. I’m grateful that the host was helpful and that he is providing ways I can stick to a budget.
I’m also thankful for friends and family. What are you thankful about this week?