The Library of Kept Things

The Library of Kept Things: a looming, brutalist block of concrete and indecipherable crenelations. Sybil applied for a position when Noomi died. It was not a glamorous library — it was a forgotten place. It was aging, skeleton staff; few visitors; abandoned rooms.

The library only collected diaries and journals and scrapbooks sent to them after their authors had died, in memorium or estate clearances or misunderstood compulsion. Too many books and too few staff meant that most recent additions had not been catalogued. Rooms filled with delivered journals awaited examination, their authors unknown, their details unrecorded.

Noomi’s diary collection, Sybil was assured, was certainly somewhere in the building. Somewhere.

The librarians fought against the creep of neglect and decay. There were few visitors, and fewer still wanting to read the diaries of a non-celebrity. Often, those who came could not be helped, just as Sybil struggled to help herself. Visitors could be guided to rooms collecting volumes by geographic region and language, but the rest of the search was in the visitors’ hands alone.

Sybil catalogued rooms. If delivery details were lost she sorted volumes by manufacturer, then by hand writing. When lucky, books bore their author’s name — but diaries aren’t often labeled.

This was her routine. Over the years the drive to find Noomi’s diaries faded — like the memory of Noomi, the need grew increasingly vague. Somewhere, in that building, somewhere, were Noomi’s past thoughts and desires. Somewhere.

But Sybil kept living.