"Oh Sweetie, put your hair down, it's so pretty when it hangs around your face. Come here and let me do it," said Mom, who was busy preening herself in the bathroom. I should know better than to walk past the bathroom when she is in there doing her hair, I always get caught.

My mother pulled me towards her, yanked out the ponytail at the base of my neck, and ran her hands through my hair, puffing it up. I rolled my eyes while she stuck an oversized yellow flower clip with a rhinestone centre in just over my left ear; she has drawers full of these crazy accessories that she's always sticking in my hair. She loves to see it all puffy and fancy. I like it pulled back, out of my face without those stray brown strands falling in front of my eyes.

"Mom," I said, dragging the word out while smoothing my hair back down and replacing the elastic. I stuffed the clip into my pocket of my jeans crushing the petals, and tried to head down the hallway towards the front door.

"Oh, hush, you look beautiful Fuchsia Lynn," She pulled me back and gave me a kiss on my forehead.

I cracked a smile, and then said, "Do you have to call me Fuchsia? Why not Lynn? You know I like that better."

"You'll always be my beautiful Fuchsia," said Mom, who began poofing up her own hair with her fingers. "I think my hair is flat on this side. What do you think?"

My Mom's hair is lemon yellow with wild curls. I can't ever remember it being flat, not even the slightest bit. I watched her as she pulled a giant comb out of one of the drawers in the bathroom vanity and started to tease her hair up. When she was satisfied with the proper level of poof, she admired herself in the framed zebra striped mirror over the sink. Mom had added the zebra detail last week along with the hot pink knobs on the vanity.

"It looks just fine Mom," I said, as I pulled my brown leather jacket on over my sweater. "I'm off to the Library now."

"Don't be too late tonight, ok."

"I'll try," I said, and threw my backpack over my shoulders and headed out the door.

After school most days, I go to the library. It's right downtown Cornerbrook, or what's considered the downtown. The town's pretty small; a grocery store, library, Bob's Mechanic shop, and a few other places. You know, just the basics. Every year the town puts out advertising brochures with descriptions like, "history is frozen in time" and begs people to "discover the old world charm" to entice people to come here and shop. I guess it is pretty nice. A river splits the town in two and it's known for the decorative bridges that cross it. Ancient maples line the streets, and baskets normally dripping with flowers hung from the lamp posts in current were empty, waiting for winter and whatever decorations they are going to put in them when Christmas comes along.

The walk to the library usually takes me about 15 minutes, but today I made it in ten. There was a definite chill to the wind, and I couldn't help but notice that almost all the leaves on the trees were now varying shades of golds, reds and oranges. I keep forgetting, it's not summer any more. One day I will remember to stick a pair of gloves in the pocket of my coat, too bad it wasn't today.

I have to stick my fingers in front of my mouth and puff hot air on them before sticking them back in my pocket periodically during the walk so my fingertips don't freeze.

I started helping out at the library, after school, with different baby classes to finish the volunteer hours I have to do for school. In grade 8, we're required to spend 25 hours doing some sort of volunteering as part of our social studies class. When we're done, we have to write a paper on the stuff we learned while we were doing our volunteer work. The baby classes hadn't been my first choice. I had wanted to do my hours at the pet shelter. They have a special area there where they rescue abandoned lizards, which is pretty great. For some reason, I love lizards. Unfortunately, it filled up too fast, so I got my second choice, the library. As it turned out, seeing the babies from the different groups each week was much more interesting than I had first expected, and of course, they are adorable. I had finished my hours ages ago, but liked helping out, so I kept going, even though I didn't have to. The best part was, when everyone leaves the library, I can sit in the window seat reading instead of getting my hair done by my Mom. I love reading mystery novels. You know, whodunits? I like to see if I can figure out who did it before the end of the book.

"Lynn," said Patsy, who is the Librarian. She's tall and willowy with black hair that touches her bum. The last class was over, and the library was back to it's usual quiet state, leaving only the two of us amongst the stacks of books. "I'm all out of chocolate rosebuds. Do you mind if I run down to Miller's?"

Millers, was the convenience store, a block away. Patsy has a desperate sweet tooth, so this happens all the time. I don't mind. Only once has someone come in to return a book when she wasn't there. I left it on the counter for Patsy, and returned to my reading. She wouldn't mind if I scanned it into the computer system, but Grandville MacCauley, the head of the library board, would. He's old and bald and absolutely loses his mind every time anyone other than Patsy touches the computer. He's a stickler for rules. We never tell him about Patsy's trips to Millers, that would be a disaster for her, and as a reward she usually throws me a pack of the sweet mints that I like.

"Yeah, sure, take your time." I said, and picked up one of the new books that Patsy had just got in. I heard the door close with its usual creak and walked over to the window seat; that was my favourite spot in the library. It had been built under a large curved top window, from there, you had the best view of the river and a black iron foot bridge that looked beautiful, no matter the season.

No one else had ever opened the book, and the cover cracked with the strain. I sigh, and wiggled my bum into seat, then tuck my toes under one of the paisley pillows lining it, and started flipping through the pages in the book first before diving into the first chapter. The silence is peaceful, and it's not long before I lose myself in the pages and the smell of paper and ink.


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