The Imaginary Librarian

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Brushing a stray hair above her ear into the severe bun, she sits on her polished wooden chair behind her plain wooden desk and busies herself straightening folders, shifting papers, and gazing at the boxes lining the walls up to the top of the imaginary ceiling.

Some bindings on the imaginary books may need a bit of tending, but that’s not something she needs to worry about. She waits for the commands she knows will come, and when they do, she will be ready to rise and shuffle across the floor in her sensible shoes.

(Image created by Marie Ginga via Adobe Firefly)

An alarm rings and she shoots up the ladder to the top shelf where the most worn books are held and retrieves a bit of information needed by the reader. A creaking sound greets her every step up and down the ladder.

Snatching the bit in the book, she scoots down and pushes it into the pneumatic tube. Task completed, she retreats to her desk and adjusts her green eyeshade. Her job is almost finished, but she refuses to think about it.


“Yes, yes, for a moment he almost seemed to come back as you asked him about that childhood memory. Funny how those things can be retrieved,” the man in the white physician’s coat mumbles to an intern as they hover over the bed.

“It won’t be long now,” the physician continues.

The vigil is almost complete as ninety years of life slip away in the quiet of the early morning light. The librarian’s job will be completed before the sun comes up fully. Slowly, the sheet is drawn over the closed eyes.

This story previously appeared in Cafe Lit, 5/2023.
Edited by Marie Ginga

P. A. Farrell is a Ph.D. psychologist, former associate editor at PW and King Features Syndicate, and published author with McGraw-Hill, Springer Publishing, Jimsom Weed, Birmingham Arts Journal, Woodcrest Magazine, Lit, Ravens Perch, Humans of the World, Active Muse. She lives on the East Coast of the US. Find out more at P. A. Farrell