'Love is something that shouldn't be bounded by the four corners of the society's norms. Love is for everyone and love is the most amazing thing that happened between us...'
Sitting here on the floor with these boxes of books and other reading materials, this is yet another one of the books that I shouldn't have opened. I'm sure this isn't supposed to be here at all and I felt intruding for reading its last page. Why do I feel that this—accidentally reading something that wasn't meant to be read—is the hardest part of my job?
"What do you have there, Sir Art? Something interesting?"
I turned to Ji and smiled. I gestured the journal that I'm holding. "I think, yes, I found something." I stood up and handed it to her. "Do you think they might have sent it accidentally, Ma'am Ji?"
I've been working here in the city's public library for almost five years now and every time that we receive book donations, it's not new anymore that some contents in the boxes sent to us are simply mistakenly included. Some would contact us about it and some would say we should just keep it when we inform our donors about them. Also, every single time that we got to open this type of contents, it just bothers me because I always feel that I shouldn't have seen them in the first place. What's worse is that this time, I found a journal—or it's probably a diary.
This batch of donations are literature from the 1945s—after the second world war.
"A journal from the same year as the books donated to us? Now, this is really interesting." She was about to flip the pages of the journal when the telephone in the front desk rings. "Welp—that's the phone for me." She sighs, chuckles, the returns me the journal. "I'll leave you here first. Plus, I have to contact our donors about that journal."
This library was an old mansion before it was donated by a rich widow to the city, saying she won't be needing this anymore because she'll never return here. That was almost fifty years ago. The city mayor then was also rich on his own and didn't want to keep the mansion to himself because he doesn't need it. Therefore, instead of selling it to a private owner, he decided to convert it into a public library because of his wife's love for literature.
This very room, the former sunroom of the mansion, where I am now, served as the library's employee's longue room and this is where we open the donations. This room really gives the right mood for every new discovery that we open from the donations and this journal...
I read what was again written on the very last page.
I'm not very much of a romance reader but I do enjoy occasional reads from that genre. Reading this last line from this last page makes me want to read it whole even though how much it makes me feel like I'll be intruding to someone's personal life. I really shouldn't have opened this.
I've read too many books for me to count. From fictions to even biographies, I enjoyed every one of them. I know I wouldn't lose anything if I don't get to read this journal. I know that and yet I still feel like something will forever be missing to me if I don't get to do it.
This is really the hardest part of my job.
"Sir Art." Ji knocks on the door. "The person on the phone is actually one of our donors. I mentioned about the journal... Is it leather-bound?"
I look at the journal. "Yes."
"Does it have a small family crest in the lower left corner?"
"Is it a rose?"
"Yes." It's like she described the whole journal to me without inspecting it.
"Bingo! He asked if you could meet him."
I had to point to myself because of disbelief. "M-Me?"
She laughs and nods. "Yes, you heard it right, he asked if he could to meet you. Then I questioned why specifically and he just answered that he needs to talk to the person who found the journal. I want to ask more about it but it sounded more like a personal request, so I came here to tell you about it immediately. He's actually still on the line this very moment, waiting for your answer..."
I looked at myself for a moment and just what I expected, I'm covered with dust and I probably smell like old books. Ji must have read my mind and immediately tells me how I look fine, that I just need to fix myself a little.
Jihan, or Ma'am Ji, is not only my co-worker but also my bestfriend for the longest time, so I know exactly what she is thinking right now. I can see it in the mischievousness of her eyes.
"Does it really have to be today?"
"Oh, yes, grumpy bunny. I'll say you said yes to him, Sir Art."
It's too late to back-out now with Ji's super persuasive powers and it's not like I have a choice, it's rude not to do a request from a donor. It will bring bad luck, too. Besides, I do really need to go out to get some fresh air, also coffee, and I should be glad that I'll be returning this journal before I become too engrossed with it.
Fixing myself as tidy as I can, at least I don't look as too haggard than I looked a few minutes ago.
I grabbed my coat and the journal. I was all ready to leave when Ji stops me. This time informing me that car will pick me up, courtesy of the donor whom I'll meet.
"What can I say? Our donor is fancy." She grins.
For all I know, this cunning woman just really wants me to go outside and like what she always says, "meet new people". It's not even like I don't talk to anyone new, we do it every day with our new library goers and occasional new donors.
"Make sure to—"
"Have fun and make myself a new friend." I finished what she was about to say. "I don't know why you always say that as if the donor asked me for a date and not for his journal."
She grins and fixes up my hair. "It's not like he's a seventy-year old guy, I wouldn't be already shipping you to him if he is."
"He isn't?" Normally our donors will be around that age but I do know what she means, I just like to tease her.
"Of course, he isn't! What do you think of me? Finding a sugar daddy for you?!"
I only laughed at her remark and before we even notice it, the one who will fetch me is already here.
"Sir August Arthur?"
"That would be me. Please call me Art." I just ignored Ji's final wink and went outside with this gentleman to his car.
"Young Master Yuan is waiting for us, Sir Art. Please fasten your seatbelt."
I did what I was told and I hugged the journal with me.
Weirdly enough, it felt assuring holding it like this and yet I don't know where I need assuring to.