Mama says I was three when I read my first book. It's not that I'm overly intelligent, I was just born with such a love for books I couldn't risk waiting until a normal age to begin reading. Who knows what I might have missed?
My dream is to one day be a librarian. I can’t imagine anything better than being surrounded by books all the time.
I go to our library a couple times each week. Mama says it’s good practice for me.
“I declare, Tara, you’re so quiet I hardly even notice you’re around.” Mrs. Holden, our librarian said with a smile when she almost tripped over me.
I looked up from my seat on the floor where I was reading a new mystery book. “Sorry.”
“Oh, it’s not a bad thing. I wish more of our children would be as quiet as you are.” Mrs. Holden began to walk away, then turned back. “Tara, have you ever thought of helping out with the children’s story time? Or even reading to them sometimes?”
My heart began beating faster. “No.” I like being in the shadows. Talking to one person is hard enough.
“You’re here a lot and we’d be delighted to have your help. You’d be a perfect fit.” Mrs. Holden’s smile got even bigger. “Besides, your mother said you want to be a librarian when you grow up. It would be a good experience for you.”
I sucked in a breath and tried to smile. “I’ll think about it.” I said it to make her stop trying to convince me. I couldn’t purposely make myself the center of attention.
Mrs. Holden told Mama about the idea when Mama came to pick me up; Mama agreed that it was wonderful.
“Mama, I can’t,” I told her when we were in the car.
“Tara, I know you’re quiet, but sometime you’re going to have to learn how to talk to other people if you want to be a librarian. This would be the perfect place to start.”
What she said made sense, but it still scared me.
* * *
“Come here, Tara.” Daddy patted the arm of his easy chair.
Snuggling next to him I took a deep breath. Daddy always made me feel safe.
“What do you think?” I asked in a whisper, knowing he would understand. During super Mama had told everyone about Mrs. Holden’s offer.
“I think it’s a mighty fine chance. It won’t be easy, but it will be good and eventually you might even enjoy it.”
“I need to conquer my fear?”
“That’s right, little lady.” Daddy gave my shoulder a squeeze.
I thought about it for a long time before nodding. “I’ll help Mrs. Holden.” As scary as it was, I felt a strange sense of excitement inside me. It felt good to step outside my fears.