The Archivist

collage 19.apg

Collage by Ira Joel Haber


At the end of the universe, there is a library.

A crumpled note falls out from among the dusty tomes. A young woman–straight blonde hair, grey pencil skirt, cat’s eye glasses–bends to pick it up. It’s an ancient to-do list, written with glitter pen on a purple sticky note, a ghosting of dirt where the stickiness had been. She always hopes she’ll discover love letters, or snippets of poetry (it does seem like that sort of place), but she rarely does. People did well with the clean up, didn’t leave much junk for the archives. She pockets it anyway, because it’s important–to her, anyway. A memory. A reminder that someone besides her was here. Or somewhere. Once. 

From a cupboard she pulls out her own antique writing supplies: a quill, a ruled exercise book, crayons, sealing wax. She writes carefully in orange crayon: Darling, I can’t bear to be without you any longer. Let’s run away together, never mind what your father says. Yours forever, X.

A tenderness that defies her circuitry fills her eyes. She tears it out, folds it in quarters. Presses it gently between two volumes of Hemingway. Then she puts the crayons neatly away.