Sabrina liked that she was the only teen librarian and usually the only teen in the library. With very few exceptions, all high schoolers were idiots.
The boy who had just come into the library, face buried in his phone, one grimy earbud hanging over his punk rock shirt, was no exception. He was in Sabrina’s class, always wore black, never spoke, and smelled like stale cigarettes. He rarely took off his earbuds, whether he was in class or sitting at Sabrina’s otherwise-deserted lunch table. Still, he wasn’t the worst person to share a table with. At least he let her read and eat in silence.
“What’s the wifi password?” he asked. Sabrina had to resist rolling her eyes. Nobody ever visits the library to read anymore. She pointed to the sign with the wifi password, expecting him to stick in his other earbud and walk away, but he didn’t. “I forgot my PIN number to log into my digital library account, and it locked me out. Could you look it up for me?”
Maybe he used the digital library to provide his round-the-clock emo music. Sabrina gave him his PIN and watched him enter it into his phone. For a moment, she glimpsed the materials he’d checked out. He had ten audiobooks, ranging from YA dystopian to children’s classics to adult biographies. Could it be possible that he read as much as Sabrina? Did he read during lunch, too?
With a few taps, he downloaded the audiobook of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. Sabrina found herself smiling. This boy might be an exception to the idiot rule. “That’s my favorite book,” she said. “I hope you like it.”
The boy smiled back. “See you at lunch.” He pushed in his other earbud and walked out the door.
Gabriella Clingman is seventeen and lives in Ohio with her parents and parakeets. She began writing stories when she could hold a pencil and often devours creative nonfiction, classics, and graphic novels in one sitting. Gabriella will transfer to Kent State University and double major in Spanish Literature and Translation and Professional Writing. She plans to work as a translator and teach English as a foreign language to adults abroad. Using her experience as an EFL teacher, Gabriella will start a literary magazine to provide a creative space for immigrants and people whose first language is not English to share their stories.