Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Bookmobile Librarian

Liz Siedo, the librarian assigned to the bookmobile in Where Love Once Lived, and who rides with Brian everyday is a memorable character. She's always jolly, a bit nosey and opinionated, but everyone loves her anyway, except the head librarian who is a grump and who assigned Liz to the bookmobile to get her out of the library.

But, what most people don't know is that Liz's outlook is due to a strong belief in God. In reality, Liz has lived a difficult life. In this excerpt, Brian and Liz are alone on the bookmobile and he has admitted to her that he hasn't been in a church in more than thirty years and that he bought the bookmobile to impress Karen and try to win her back.

“It all makes sense now.” She paced in the narrow hallway of the bookmobile. “My husband, back in Holly Springs, North Carolina, was an alcoholic. I got counseling and begged him to get help, too, but he just kept drinking until it killed him. I took the insurance money and used it to fulfill my lifelong dream of becoming a librarian.”

“Good for you,” Brian said. “But I don’t see what this has to do with the bookmobile.”

“I’m coming to that.” Liz sat on the bench in front of his desk. “I heard the University of Texas had a great library science program, so I moved here.”

Brian wished she’d get on with it. They still had to set up for tomorrow’s runs, and he wanted to get home. He was thinking about calling Karen to see if she’d talk to him on the phone.

“So, you graduated and went to work for Austin Public Library.”

“Right. I hadn’t planned to stay here in Austin, but by the time I graduated, I was too involved in my church to leave. Besides, Michael liked it here, too.

“Michael? Who’s Michael?” He wished he hadn’t asked. This was taking forever. He looked at his watch.

“I haven’t told you about my grandson. He was living with us back home, and when I moved here, he came with me.” She looked sad all of a sudden. “That may have been a mistake. He’s in prison now.”

“Your grandson’s in prison? For what?”

“Driving under the influence,” she said. “Well, five convictions, actually. At least he can’t drink while he’s there. But getting back to what I was telling you. You know, why I think God put me here.” She pointed at the floor.

Brian checked his watch again. He didn’t have to be anywhere at a particular time, but maybe she’d take the hint and wrap up her story so he could go home. “Why?”

“It’s simple,” she said. “I’m gonna help you find God again.” She had a self-satisfied look on her face that was frightening.

Have you had the privilege of knowing someone like Liz?

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