Kids came in for story time today. Kids with parents and adults that take care of them. I asked Lyra to help me out, take over the responsibility of reading colorful books to the drooling masses but she said no. There are times when I wonder why I let her work here underpaid.
The kids and the adults formed a line and gathered near the carpet. I stood in front of them and they sat all together. When I started singing, no one sang with me. I read from some book with a puppy. The puppy poked things. I think. I zoned out for a while and let my body do exaggerated things. The kids clapped at the end and I smiled at them. They did not smile back. I do not know why.
When I was done, one of the adults approached me. Her head was down, brown hair falling in her face and white chin peaking out like a stalactite in a cave of brown moss. I asked if she needed anything.
"Corn," she said.
"We need corn. The children are hungry."
I looked to the crowd. Twenty or so young ones, all looking at me. They each held their abdomens and looked my way at the same time. They stared and I felt it, the weight of their eyes.
"We don't have any food. If you wait until three, there'll be some after school stuff. Juice and graham crackers," I said.
"Fine. You should do something about the smell."
"What smell?" I said but she did not hear. She turned and walked to the group. The adults stood in a circle and said nothing. The children gathered beneath them with their books. The babbling of mouths that had not formed words grew.
I went to the circulation desk and waited. The group checked out, one by one, walking away from the group to me and then out the door. They all had their library cards and no fines.