So here it is. 9 days until I leave for college and this week is my last full week living in one of the only homes I have ever known since I was 7. This evening was my last time volunteering at the library I have practically grown up in and as I perused the aisles for the last time, I admit, I shed a few tears. It seemed odd to be crying because, at UNCG, I will have access to a 9 story library tower full of boundless information. But then I realized the reason I was so sad, was because, at UNCG, I am just passing through. But at my local library, it was mine. There lie the books that have shaped me into the young woman I am today. Once I crossed its threshold, I was no longer that lonely and awkward young girl, confused about her place in the universe. When I entered that building, I was something more. I was an explorer of worlds, a keeper of tales. And with each book held the message I desperately needed to hear. The message that promised, “You are not alone”.
And the whole thing made me think about how temporary every stage in our lives are. Leaving that library tonight left me feeling displaced like I had lost some large part of myself. But that physical location has given me so much. It has given me hope and a love for learning. So now I am comforted by the thought that even though I am leaving so much, I will always hold the things I gained from these important places because they may not always reside in their location, but they will always reside in my heart. And because I was at home in that library, I shall be at home in all libraries for the rest of my life.
And so I have learned that we will never truly lose the things we love and the things that have made us who we are. And even though it will be awhile until I walk through those large glass doors, I will never lose the things that it has given me. Next week, I am leaving a lot behind. And this week, I will be doing a lot of things for the last time and I keep on reminding myself that it is okay for me to be sad about this. Through this all, I have managed to maintain a hopeful sort of sadness. The kind where even though tears may be streaming down my face, I still look up, and smile. -Kate Cruz
(dedicated to the librarians at the Walkertown Public Library who have played a very large role in making a physical location feel like home.)