A co-worker I get along with recently applied for and got a new set of hours at my library. Curiously these hours are almost entirely the hours I don't work. I am endeavoring to not take this personally. This is hard and noble work.
But this has opened a bit of a porthole view into hours I do not think of, the hours that I do not work at my library, the shadow hours.
My library is open 63 hours a week. I work a hearty shake more than half of all those hours. But it is my wont to imagine my library does not exist when I am not there, and that nothing important can happen at the library if I am not in it. I suppose you could think this an act of narcissistic fantasy, but I am constantly nudged into this view by the following:
For 23 years, whether I have been gone from the library for a day, a week, or, in my modern era record, 35 days, when I come back and inquire "What happened while I was gone?" I am invariably met with a curious blankness. At most some almost astonishingly trivial detail is dredged up for my consideration, but basically nothing happens while I am gone, every single time.
Of course not much happens while I'm here, but that's not the point.
So then what does it mean to have some co-worker who I am friendly with working these precisely occluded hours. Is this the window I have been waiting for? Are our brief periods of working overlap an opportunity to see into this shadow library? Is it like a mirror into the land of death? And if, perchance, this co-worker is like a magical lens giving me sight into the unseeable, is this knowledge dangerous?
I think so. Sure. I mean, it is almost certain that I am not meant to know anything about this alternate library, running nefariously in a bitter universe that is cold and without me. The gods cry out "This is not for your eyes!"
But what is that to me? I seek the truth, no matter how horrible it might be.