The Magical Library
Lester drew back against the wall, trying to hide in the deep shadows. These intrusions into the magic library were getting more and more frequent. Last night it had been Will Shakespeare who magically appeared and tried to talk him into leaving this wonderful spot.
Lester had discovered the magical room by accident. He was staying at the newly opened Andaluz Hotel in Albuquerque when he had wandered into a spacious alcove with a sturdy, wooden table and scattered couches. Lester had fallen asleep while perusing a very interesting book on farming. When he awoke, he felt wonderful. He had never felt so light and well. Why, he had the strength of his youth, he exulted!
Someone had removed the book from his hands while he dozed but he had gotten up and chosen another from the neatly organized shelves and that is when he discovered the magical properties of the place.
He was glancing through a large illustrated book that showed marvelous scenes from Scotland and his attention was caught by a picture of a new-fangled golf course there. As he gazed at lush green lawns with a shimmering water hole in the distance, he had suddenly slipped into the photo and come out at the very course the book was discussing!
Amazed, Lester had rushed around, gazing excitedly at the verdant scene. He smelled the scent of the earth from the damp grass. He glanced up at the sky and the grey clouds drifting off revealed that it had probably rained recently.
Lester seemed to glide over the course as he ran from corner to corner of the green expanse. He watched as balls flew through the air and landed by little flags. What an exciting game, he thought. It was revitalizing simply to observe as it was played. He had never felt so alive – so well.
Lester watched the busy movements around him for hours before he thought of the library again. As he visualized the soft couch on which he had fallen asleep, he suddenly flew back to the room and landed on the same couch from which he had left.
Or, was it the same? No, now that he looked closer he could see that the color had changed subtly. And weren’t the legs rounded before?
Well, it didn’t matter. The room was enchanted, that much was obvious. Delighted, he had gotten up and replaced the book about Scotland. He took a few moments to thumb through several books before carefully pulling down another large illustrated book from the bookshelves. He felt excited at the possibilities. He jumped straight up and slapped the ceiling in his joy.
Quickly, he sat down to look inside the book that he had chosen. It was about places to eat in Paris. Sure enough, after gazing closely at one of the photos, he had traveled instantly into the book and into the restaurant that had caught his eye. Once there, he boldly walked into the kitchen and watched the chef as he bustled around preparing succulent-looking platters of food.
One dish was plated so well that Lester exclaimed aloud, “Beautiful!” The magical thing Lester discovered then was that no one could see him or hear him. Apparently, the library transported you to places on earth, but no one knew.
Lester had shouted, “Glory Hallelujah!” just to amuse himself, but as he suspected, not one person turned their head or even acknowledged his presence.
Oh, what fun! Between naps in the magic room, Lester continued to travel. He went to place after place that he found inside the books in the magic library. Often while napping, someone – the hotel staff probably – came in and changed the décor. New pictures appeared on the walls and new furniture was introduced to the room. It was all part of the magic.
After Lester had made a few enchanted journeys, mystical visitors started to arrive. They were obviously magical creatures because they could see Lester, unlike hotel staff and people he encountered on his many excursions to various sites around the world. Soon, a stream of mystical people started coming to try and talk him into leaving the wonderful room.
At first, Lester had courteously listened while they talked at him. Some were famous, while others came because they had recently moved to a marvelous land and they wanted him to join them. They said it wasn’t natural for him to stay in the magic library.
More and more the library felt like his library, his home, and he didn’t want to leave. Last night, Will Shakespeare, of all people, had come into the room. He claimed he was in town to see an exhibit called “Shakespeare on the Plaza” but Lester didn’t remember a plaza such as Shakespeare described. Will had claimed there were large pictures from European artists lining a path around “the park.”
Lester thought he would have noticed if large pictures had somehow been propped up right in people’s walkway. And why in the world would they hold a play in a park rather than in a theater? Something just didn’t sound right. Of course, he knew Shakespeare’s real purpose. He wanted to talk him into leaving the magical library.
Will Shakespeare had said as much. He claimed that there was a wonderful land where people just like Lester were living, and they were always happy. Shakespeare had made a point to say that they never cried and if they did, their tears got wiped away. What a strange vacation-land, thought Lester.
He had refused to go. Let others go on vacation, Lester was happy in his magical library. He was tired of being cajoled. A man couldn’t even relax and enjoy a good rest, or a good book without people begging him to leave, he thought, and that was simply not fair.
Lester practiced disappearing in the shadows that were always present in the softly-lit room. Soon Lester felt that he could almost become a shadow himself if he truly concentrated. The deepening shades in the room had become old friends and when new magical people came in to seek him, he learned to stand, surrounded by a plethora of silent shadow supporters, and ignore the visitors. He also discovered that if he kept a book open on the table, he could quickly dive into any page with a vivid scene and be gone - off on another adventure, while the magical people sought him in vain.
One time he stood unseen against the wall, as still as a grave, while two imposters talked about him, wanting him to leave with them. Gates are not made out of pearl, for one thing, he thought as he listened. The two visitors had outrageously pretended to be his parents, which he knew was impossible because his mother was long gone, and his father had died on the Titanic, seventeen years before he came on this trip to Albuquerque. What nerve they had!
He would never leave, he swore to himself. Not everyone discovered a magical library as he had and he was not about to abandon it just because some people wanted to haul him off to some never-never land far from the wonderful Andaluz hotel. He had more sense than that.
Lester settled back on the comfy couch and put his feet up for a snooze. He would get another book off the shelves shortly. Life was good!