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The Student News Site of Concord-Carlisle Regional High School

The Voice

Concord-Carlisle High School's Student Newspaper
The Student News Site of Concord-Carlisle Regional High School

The Voice

Concord-Carlisle High School's Student Newspaper

A Book and a Blanket

A+lovely+book+and+a+blanket+to+illustrate+the+stories+title.%0ACredit%3A+https%3A%2F%2Fwww.pexels.com%2Fphoto%2Fbookmark-and-flower-on-a-book-19355484%2F
A lovely book and a blanket to illustrate the stories title. Credit: https://www.pexels.com/photo/bookmark-and-flower-on-a-book-19355484/

     Earlier that day, it started to rain. James told himself it would pass, that it would be over soon. He told himself that it wouldn’t last more than a few hours. He even told Marianne not to worry, for he was sure it would be clear for their date that night. He was wrong, of course, as he often was about these kinds of things. Now, he and Marianne were sitting in a booth at Barney’s Lobster Shack, with a cold and rather melancholy-looking lobster placed between them. Rain pounded against the windows, lightning flashed across the sky, and the rumble of thunder grew closer. But not a single word was uttered between James and Marianne. 

     James fussed with the napkin in his lap, unsure of what to say. He was avoiding Marianne’s gaze by encompassing himself in the insipidity of the walls. The lobster shack itself was a relatively gloomy place, with its unwashed tables and chipped dishes. Faint glimmers rose from candles placed sparsely around the room, their flames dancing to the cacophony of the storm outside. 

     Everyone was on edge. Marianne, especially, who had promised her boss she’d be back in time to close the library. James had apologized again and again, but it was evident that she wasn’t interested in his appeals. 

     Waiting for an acknowledgement from his companion, James distracted himself by recalling his recent week-long excursion to Rome. He had gone to visit an old friend, although he told Marianne he was on a business trip. In truth, he just wanted to avoid an argument. Marianne didn’t always approve of his friends, and James knew she wouldn’t like him going overseas to visit one. Even so, he truly cared about her, and wanted nothing but the best for their relationship. She was good to him, and in turn, he was her sheepish partner in adventure. 

     James had spent the first five days of his trip with his friend, Steve, who lived just outside of Rome. On the sixth day, he left Steve’s house and traveled to the city, where he explored ancient ruins and landmarks. Before he left, James visited some of Rome’s famous museums, as he had recently developed an interest in the arts. Yet now, instead of thinking about old books and paintings, his mind was stuck on Marianne. 

     Eventually, she spoke up. “I’m sorry I freaked out, James. I’ve just been so stressed with work that I haven’t had time to process anything.” 

     Their eyes met. James responded. “Thanks, it’s okay. You had every right to be mad anyway. I shouldn’t’ve insisted on coming out here in the first place; I mean, it’s pouring.” Marianne smiled, and decided that she would take the night off from worrying.

     A pleasant dinner conversation resumed. Even the lobster, which was now being thoroughly enjoyed, looked a lot less somber. Outside, the rain slowed to a quiet patter. 

     “This weather makes me want to curl up with a warm blanket and a really good book,” Marianne noted. James nodded in agreement, silent.

     As they talked, the sky continued to clear and the lights flickered back on. Restaurant staff fired up the ovens and the television restarted. The local news channel babbled on about the usual goings-on; the Girl Scout troops were starting their cookie sales, a new flower shop was coming to town, and Mrs. Branchard, a lonely woman who lived on the outskirts of town, had lost her cat. James and Marianne paid no mind to the persistent drone of the news anchor, instead distracting themselves with talk of her family. 

     About halfway through a conversation regarding cousin Alastair’s love affairs, the channel switched to a more noteworthy subject. 

     “Up next:” the TV hollered, “The Book Thief Strikes Again. Another priceless novel stolen last Friday. An ancient book was reported missing from the Musei Capitolini in Italy at 3:47pm, marking the third stolen book in the past 2 months. Experts are still trying to find out who is behind this string of rare book heists, altho-”

     “God, that’s just awful.” Marianne slammed her fist on the table. “I mean, I’ve spent my entire life working in a library, and just, God! The nerve of some people – it makes me sick.” 

     “I know. It’s infuriating.” James said, his eyes not quite meeting hers.

     Marianne shook her head with anger. “Do these people even think about what they’re doing? Not just whoever’s behind this, but people who steal books and art in general. It’s all one of a kind. All of it. And they just take that from everyone. Could you be more insensitive than that?”

     “Yeah,” James took a shaky breath. “But they’ve gotta have some motivation to do it… Y’know?”

     Marianne sighed. “I don’t know. I just don’t know.”

     The couple continued to go back and forth about the idiocy of the crime, and the news anchor finished his report. Business went on as usual.

     “Your lobster’s getting cold. Why did you stop eating?” said Marianne, slightly worried.

     “I don’t know. I guess I just lost my appetite.” James poked the food with his fork. His mind was somewhere else now.

     They soon grew tired of talking, and decided to call it a night. Marianne apologized: “Thank you, really. I’m sorry I lashed out before.” 

     “Of course, I know you didn’t mean it.” James smiled. He couldn’t wait to get home and curl up with a warm blanket and a really good book.

 

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Kamala Bose, Writer
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