Today’s Daily Post prompt asks us what we would do with the Golden Key to anything that we would normally not have access to.
I’d like to have access to the public library’s rare books room.
They have windows looking into the room, but the door is not accessible to the public–which is the equivalent to showing a candy shop window to sweet-toothed children while forbidding them entry to the shop. I always have a craving for books, especially mysterious old ones. Thick, leather-bound, dusty tomes taunt me from inside that glass room…I usually stand there with my face smushed against the window, imagining all of the wonder that those shelves hold. It’s wonderful that these items exist, but why does the library antagonize us like this?
Behind the glass, stacks of books glow against the dark. The dim spotlights, ornate carpets, gilded wall sconces, and stained glass lamps give the room a magically ancient air. Perhaps the floors and shelves were made from enchanted trees in order to protect these books and the knowledge they hold–knowledge so valuable that it must not die out of the world or some portion of reality will collapse.
How can you resist wanting to read those things? The shelves also look a bit like the shelves at Hogwarts might look like, so there’s that added allure. All I want to do is tip-toe into the room, select a particularly enticing item, and slowly slide it off the shelf. I would bring it to the big oak table near the stacks, and I would lay the treasure lovingly on the table to that I could have a good look at the contents. I would pause before opening it, savoring the moment before I look into a thing which deserves my respect due to the mere amount of years it has existed, and then I’ll peek under the cover. Wonders. Everything. My fingertips would glide over the dried-out and yellowed parchment, sensing the age in the paper, and I would feel relatively magical and important myself for just having been able to enjoy the book. Then I’d close the covers, reverent but feeling accomplished, and pick up the book for one last book-hug before I put it back as quietly as I had taken it out. I would repeat until I’ve read only the best ones.
After that, I would sit by the fireplace to ponder various grave and marvelous things, my eyes tracing the intricacies of the vast Persian rugs. I would try to cast a couple spells upon the fire, bending it to my will. It might work this time. Then I’d sit back in the plush red armchair to fall into a dream just so I could wake up there in the rare books room. Finally, I’d stand, take my Golden Key, and approach the door. I’d take one last look with longing eyes, step through the door, and lock the door behind me.
And so concludes my day in the rare books room at the public library.