I received a phone call from a lady named Lisa two weeks ago. This is about our High School Reunion that will be held soon. I gave her my confirmation that I am not going to attend because of my hectic work schedules. She told me that if I ever I change my mind to drop her message and also to attend the meeting to discuss some details for the reunion.
I got a cold from the sudden afternoon rain showers the following week so I decided to take a few days leave in addition to my sick leave. I dropped Lisa a message and she asked me to come to my old school on Monday, five days before the High School Reunion will take place.
I went there earlier than the time I was asked to. I told the guards that I am an alumnus who’ll be attending some kind of a meeting regarding the upcoming High School Reunion. He showed me the way to Ms. Lisa’s office, the Library.
I do not have memories about our library. I am not a bookworm; I don’t even remember that I owned a library card when I was in high school. I was a lazy student back then. I love sports so I engaged my self to it and became a member of the varsity team. So I am not obliged to study and sometimes I get exam exemptions. But exemptions don’t really give me high grades but I was contented back then.
I waited for Lisa to arrive. I was entertained by the other librarian there. She suggested that I better take a look at the library. I agreed. I discovered a great change. Well, it’s been 10 years and I was happy for the developments. From the new shelves, to the new books. From the computers to the advance catalog system. Surely, everything is far more different and better than before. I walked and browse the different sections of the library while hoping that a memory would appear on my mind. But it never happened.
The shelves and the books became dusty as I went further. I was still having colds that time to I decided to go back to the librarian’s desk. But I was late. I sneezed hard. I made an impact on the bookshelves behind me. I felt that a book fell on my back and it rolled a few meters away from my feet. I went to pick it. And as I bowed to pick it up, a hand came from the side and picked it with me.
“I’m sorry,” I said. “I sneezed and it flew.”
“Yeah, I heard you,” she chuckled.
“Ronald,” I said as I offered my hand.
“Lisa,” she said. “I was waiting for you.”
She kept holding the book… It was a familiar book. She placed it back to the shelves and accompanied me outside and to the conference room. There I saw some of my old schoolmates and classmates. After some greetings we went straight to the details of the reunion. I didn’t stayed that long because I was to visit my doctor that afternoon.
Two days after, my sneezing subsided. I visited a nearby mall to buy some supplies and materials to decorate the venue; it’s been years since I last bought school supplies. Across the supplies store, I saw a bookstore selling old books. I went there out of curiosity. I thought that my sneezing subsided. But as soon as I entered the store, I felt this uneasy thing on my sinus. And then suddenly, I sneezed hard. A pile of books in front of me fell. It was embarrassing so I picked them up and placed them. The guy from my behind pointed the last book I missed to pick up. I bend down to fetch it.
It was a familiar book… The same book that fell in the library a few days ago. I scanned the book. It said, “When We Were Very Young” by A.A Milne. I turned the cover and went on the pages… It was really an old book… on the front fly leaf I saw a name written on it. “L. Rivera”.
I scanned the back and flipped the pages. I discovered something drawn at the back fly leaf. A simple graffiti made from pastel, hand printed with tiny little hands until it reached the edge of the paper… A word ‘FRIENDS’ was written on it. I flipped the pages to look at the back of the fly leaf but nothing was printed on it. As if the other half was scissored or maybe drawn on a separate sheet.
“When we were very young,” I uttered. “It rings a bell…”
I tried to call Lisa to ask her about the book that I sneezed out of the shelves but she was out of reach. I paid the book and hurried to the school to bring the supplies and also to find Lisa.
I headed directly to the library and looked for Lisa. But she’s not on her desk… I went further to the section and to the shelves where the book fell. But it wasn’t there. I scanned the shelves thoroughly but there are no signs to the book’s whereabouts.
“When we were very young,” I uttered again.
I cannot remember my friends from kindergarten or maybe because I have already outgrown them. Did I intend to forget them? I don’t know… It was a long time ago.
“When we were very young,” I uttered again.
I cannot remember what happen during that time. But I have this feeling inside yearning for my memories to comeback.
I rushed outside the library and think about the places I have been when I was young. Younger than my High school years… younger than my elementary years… My long forgotten kindergarten.
I tried to look at the drawing again. I know they’re pairs of the hands… The blue pastel shading on the background seemed familiar… It’s a sky.
I rushed upstairs to the roof deck. And before I reached the door, I know that behind it was the truth I am seeking.
And I saw her… Standing below the blue sky…
Lisa opened her copy of the book. The book I sneezed out of the shelf a few days ago. She flipped the cover and showed me the front fly leaf… There was a drawing similar to what I have… It was the other half… The fly leaf were my hands were printed..
Lisa moved close to me and joined the two fly leaves. She smiled.
“I was waiting for you,” Lisa said.
She raised her free hand to the sky and I followed what she did.
“I thought you have forgotten our promise,” She said.
“To tell you the truth,” I apologized. “I did forget.”
“It doesn’t matter,” she said. “At least, you came.”
I took a last glance over the fly leaves… I smiled as I read the words that were joined above our hand prints.