I stared at them. They stared back, indifferent. I reached out, stopped–they saw my hesitation. Sweat trickled down my spine. My eyes darted back and forth. I was breathing too fast. They would know how nerve-wracking it was.

My chest felt tight. Indecision clouded my mind. The sound of the clock ticking on the wall seemed five times louder than normal. I looked for help, but I was alone. Just me and them. They remained still. I swallowed, but my mouth was dry.

I reached out slowly, carefully. This time I didn’t stop. I touched one of them, trailed my fingers down the spine and picked it up, flipping it over to see if the book was anything I would be interested in.

Just when I thought I had a good one, the sound I had been dreading came across the room.

“The library closes in five minutes!”

And all of the sudden, the race was on. Panic set in. Was it the right book? Why did I pick it up? What if it wasn’t good? I needed another.

Frantically, I grabbed another one and scanned the back. Good enough. I rushed to the front desk and checked them out, completely unsure of my choices as I walked out to my car.

It was the most intense experience of my week.


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