This past weekend, I went to the town in Maryland where I went to high school for a friend's bridal shower. I've been back once or twice since I've moved to the West coast, but not to the town itself, and I was nervous. I don't have the best of memories of high school, so I wasn't sure what to expect.
One of the places I was able to get to was the public library near my old high school. I worked there most of the time I was in high school, and it was the place (other than the theater at school) were I spent the most time, especially after my father died. While I had always loved books, that library was the first place where I felt comforted by the presence of so many books in one place. Bookstores were always a little too cold, but the library...the books were welcoming, the tables and ridiculously uncomfortable chairs were the perfect place to hide when things got to be too much. Even when I wasn't working, I still spent countless hours hiding out, filling my notebooks with scribbles and not worrying about the rest of the world.
The library was almost exactly the same as I remember it, and the branch manager there was the same person who had been my manager when I worked there. I spent over an hour in there, reading and getting myself in a good place to meet with a bunch of people from high school. In the end, that was one of the best things I could have done for myself, and it reminded me that maybe not everything about that period of my life was as bad as I thought.
Sometimes I miss having that kind of sanctuary. There's something to be said for having a place away from the rest of the world, to just write or read or do what I need to do to keep myself together. It's one of those things that I need to make a priority again, and I'm very glad to have had that reminder.