By Kira A. Moore
Emili was ever the curious child. Her mother or Grandmother, even the occasional sitter would be compelled to retrieve her from the most unlikely of places, drain pipes, culverts, from boxes and under beds. If asked what she was searching for, she would just smile and reply, “I don’t know.”
Often times, when speaking with friends, her mother claimed Emili was to blame for the alarming numbers of grey hairs she would find when looking in the mirror. “I swear that girl is going to drive me to drink!” she told her husband, but he, being who he was, could only point out; “Not until she’s sixteen!” Which he found unaccountably hilarious, but in which her mother found no humor at all.
It was with no small amount of trepidation her mother saw her off to her first days of school, days which were spent in a constant state of anxiety as she waited for a call from the school or a letter in the mail explaining just why little Emili was not to be allowed to return. For the safety of the other students, of course. So it was relief when first one year, then another, and yet another passed uneventfully. In truth it seemed Emili was not only an excellent student but was well liked by students and staff alike.
At the ripe old age of eight, Emili found a new passion. The adult section of the community library. For days on end she had wanted to get lost in those endless shelves of mysterious books, but being afraid she wouldn’t be allowed, she found herself, time ofter time creeping up the stairs only to flee to the sanctuary of the children’s section at the slightest noise. It took an unusually cold and rainy August afternoon when she was the only person besides the two librarians on duty for her to finely pluck up the courage to top the stairs and cross the threshold.
She walked the isles, one after the other just looking at the countless titles she had never dreamed existed, not daring to pick one out for fear of being reprimanded. It would be the first of many such excursions, each time she gained a little more confidence, at last picking out a book which she took to a reading cubby almost slinking, as if she were a mouse with a bit of cheese. Those first few times were spent as much looking over her shoulder as reading the words on the page. She did wonder what someone would think of her reading the dictionary or leafing through an encyclopedia.
In the end it was her curiosity which won and she found herself picking out titles at random to hold in her shaking hands and fill her wide eyes with wonder. There were the classics; ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’, ‘The Good Earth’, ‘Alas, Babylon’ and many others. From there she branched out in a dozen directions, fiction, science, autobiography. Yet she never dared to try and check anything out, remaining curled up in her favorite cubby until they announced closing time.
Then one day she found it. A book which seemed to reach out and call to her.
It was a small book with a deep purple cover and gold lettering across the spine. It has a picture of three girls standing around a window at their feet. Each looked to be completely enraptured with what she found there. It was called ‘Three Curious Girls’ and she knew she just had to read their story because she was sure they would be just like her and she so desperately wanted to find others just like herself even if they were only make believe.
It wasn’t until closing time, when Mrs. Abby did her nightly check, looking for sleepers and forgotten books that she happened across a dark purple book lying on the floor. She prided herself on being familiar with all of titles in her library, yet she could not remember a purple book of any kind. Intrigued, she picked it up and looked at the cover.
‘Four Curious Girls’.