Free women in the library
What got me through the confinement of high school was the hope of leaving the first 18 years of my life behind. I studied hard. I was exhausted and would fall asleep at 9 pm setting the alarm at 3 am to study. On weekends, I spent all day in the town library. It was a small corner room of the community center with a meager selection of books, but it soothed me to study among the bookshelves.
There was a devastating scale of an earthquake in Kobe that winter, followed by the chemical terrorist attack by a cult in the subway in Tokyo. But in the bubble of the small, snow-country library, occurrence in the world felt nothing but a mere chapter in the history textbook.
During a break, I’d browse the bookshelves and find books by female authors and journalists. They had all left their enclosures when young and took the gamble with their lives, which were not necessarily wine and roses, but emphatically free.
I was fortunate enough to be living abroad when the 2011 earthquake occurred. I also have never happened to be in a place where terrorists killed or threatened lives. But as I write this, the whole world is in fear of a deadly virus. I am in the semi-confinement of my one-bedroom apartment in California. Still, not a single day passes without awakening by the sense of freedom I have achieved since the time at that small library. And I owe it to my own foolishness to take various risks in life.
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