Hi, Neighbor

When I was a kid, the jail sat next to the library. I’d go in to exchange my books, the cool air conditioning, evaporating sweat dripping from my neck resulting from the bike ride there in the hot Texas sun. I wondered if I’d ever be able to take a peek behind the door separating the library and jail. The neighboring door just behind the librarian’s circulation desk remained locked. I imagined a Mayberry jail, one of the criminals trying to figure out a way to retrieve the keys from Barney Fife or rig up some contraption to yank them off an unattended nail next to the cell.

Was Ms. Roper afraid? Did anyone ever open that door? Was there even anyone in jail? Ever? Maybe it was just there to make us think it was the jail. I lived in a tiny blink and you’ll miss it town. I never heard of anyone being arrested. That happened in cities like New York, not our town. Why was it next to the library?

One place, shuts down and isolates a person. The other frees them up. What strange neighbors, the jail and the library.

Walking out, I’d take a look at the neighbor’s front door. The window with the blinds drawn shut. My bike still waiting for me. Hugging my book stack in one arm, I’d steady myself in the seat and pedal off, until next time.

5 thoughts on “Hi, Neighbor

  1. You took me right there with you! I can’t imagine all the thoughts that must have run through your head as you checked out books. The way you started this narrative riding to the library and ended leaving, peppering all the details of the jail in between, really gave me a picture of what it must have been like.

    I had to laugh as I was thinking about your post. When I was a kid, our library was right beside the police station. I believe there’s a holding cell type jail in there, but I really never did know. I hadn’t given it much thought until now. Interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What an interesting combination of places. I have many fond memories of my childhood, local library. I need to write about those memories! Your word choice left a mark on me…”tiny blink and you’ll miss is town,”
    This paragraph was beautiful “One place, shuts down and isolates a person. The other frees them up. What strange neighbors, the jail and the library.” Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Your writing invites me to think of the jail just like a child would. Your description and questions are spot on, and I enjoyed thinking about the daunting jail next to the friendly library.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What an odd juxtaposition, indeed! I was glad and surprised by the clarification that the library and jail shared a wall! Makes me wonder if the librarian ever delivered books next door to help the occupants pass the time….I really enjoyed this quirky post, Alice!

    Liked by 1 person

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