“Mother. Seriously. Why. WHY.” I muttered under my breath as I stepped over the tree-root cracked pavement

It was a whole morning ritual for me. If the blame was deflected, it made it easier to deal with the fact that i had such a masculine name. I rolled my eyes and kept walking, jumping over a bent piece of metal with a rusty, red octagonal chunk attached to the top. “Let’s just try to forget, MOM, that time the teacher grouped me in with the boys based on my name. That was awesome…”, I sighed. So awesome.

Whatever. I drew in a deep breath and exhaled quickly, “Negativity out!”

Sometimes, in the early morning air, it was just that easy to shake it off. Book bag slung over shoulder, my feet hit the dirt path to Aratus, the town/river where everything was centered. The walk itself took about 45 minutes, but i felt lucky to live close enough that all paths lead directly there. In a very even, straight, terribly smooth manner. The paths close to my house were all similarly constructed with even borders and edges. They curved and flowed with one another, behaving so properly, one would have thought they had been planned. Instead of the clearly natural way they were. Dirt covered, tree lined canopies, fresh green light seeping in.

How could you ever not want to walk to the city? It was too beautiful. “Unless you had this stupid name and spent 45 stupid minutes dwelling over what everyone thought of it….”, I muttered again. Shaking it off, my feet lightened and slowly started skipping through the green light. The outskirts of the city grew closer and the ordered paths widened. The city always lightened my heart and mood.

Aratus slowly came into view, an overgrown town with its main buildings perched on a tiny landmass, while the streets and roads that grew out of it were mainly docks and bridges that extended over the river which wound around and through the main grouping of buildings. It gave the whole area the appearance of an unruly, mutated octopus.

My heart always grows lighter as I hit the city bridges. Mainly because of the library. The library is my soul, always has been. When I was young, my mother took me to the library every week. The walk was always light, mainly because of anticipation. And, well, there was an alligator.

It was there every week. And it always seemed as if it was waiting for me, with an extra wide smile. It smiled just a little more whenever I sank onto its back with a book. Reality disappeared and I merged into whatever I had in my hands. Despite their less than clean appearance.

My feet were headed in that very direction, they usually were. But sometimes there are distractions. And that morning there was the hugest of all distractions.