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March 29, 2017

Her eyes scanned the rows of books climbing from floor to ceiling and she tried her best to keep her squeals to a whisper because everyone knows you have to be quiet when in the library. She peeked through the spines into the next aisle and she motioned for me to join her. I looked through the titles her tiny hands had separated and asked what we were doing, what we were supposed to see.

“The dragon,” she said with her words barely audible.

Immediately I slammed the books back together and caught my reflection in her big brown eyes. I’ve been here before, but it was practically a lifetime ago. I’ve been lost in my imagination, but that was before I knew the weight of adulthood. I decided to let her lead the way. “What should we do?” I asked and I waited for her to decide. I waited for her to remind me that the world isn't always about looming deadlines and endless tasks.

“Follow me,” she whispered as she started walking, “to the kid section!”

We tip toed, like amateur ballerinas, through Non-Fiction and slid our way, backs against books, through Biographies. We paused in front of the Periodicals before flying over and under Fiction finally landing through the double doors of the Children’s section. I watched her look around, taking it all in, the numerous worlds to see and characters to meet; I watched the cape of curiosity she draped over her shoulders, wild and unhinged.

“It’s around here somewhere,” she said as she pulled and replaced books on the shelves.

She navigated through age ranges instead of sections, weeding through illustrations while the pages slowly started accumulating words. Then she turned towards me, her fingers pausing over an orange spine. She plucked it from those on either side and stuck her thumbs just inside the front and back cover. Before she opened it, she explained it was a portal that would somehow save us.

“We’ll be here,” she said. “Then we’ll be there.”

The book opened and she tucked it under her arm. A smile crawled across her face, wide and contagious, and we stood there until she pulled another book from the shelf. She tossed it to me and I saw the Knight on the cover holding a shiny sword by his side and I caught her smile before slamming her book shut. We put both books back in their places on the shelf. She was thinking what I was thinking. 

“Watch this,” I said lifting a fictional piece of steel in the air.

Then suddenly the dragon was gone. She grabbed the books she wanted to check out holding all three of them with white knuckles while we made our way back through Fiction and the Periodicals. She kept up the pace through the Biographies and Non-Fiction until we reached the place where we had started. We were there and then we were here again. She even had a card with her name on it to prove it.

Every day, everything, with her is an adventure.

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