So here's a little Schnitzel history: I began and published this story in early 2011 and worked on it until late 2012. However, late 2012 is when I began college, and after college began, this story was somewhat abandoned even though I had planned for so many hours and was so near the end…
Recently, I finished this story. I had to. I only needed just under 5,000 words to wrap it up. It's surreal, having a complete first draft (about 83,000 words). This story/document/thing here on Fictionpress, used to have almost everything, but I've deleted all the chapters and am starting anew. So what you'll see, hopefully steadily updated, are edited chapters, similar to the originals, some very close, but edited and polished for your reading pleasure. And they also have an ending.
Let me know what you think, about my decision, about the story, about everything, and have fun reading! And of course, I have the original parts that were previously uploaded here, so if you ever have a hankering to read those, too, just give me a holler.
The library has always made me feel comfortable. Sure, the chairs are a little stiff and distastefully colored (white and green, what?). And sure, the librarian shoots me unwarranted looks full of threat and hatred whenever I pass by even when I don't have a book overdue (it's that I dared to take any out at all that displeases her). But it's a place where I can feel safe.
Where I can relax.
I typically sit in the very corner of the room, next to the guides on how to dissect books that you won't ever read unless you're getting your PhD in some obscure subsection of Literature. Fortunately, this is a high school, so rarely does a human pass by while I sit here. It has probably been years since a human has even breathed near these books.
On that thought, I turn around. Am I correct?
A crinkled forest-green book-cover slips off its owner, perhaps giving itself another couple of years until it completely admits defeat.
I am correct.
At the moment, it is clearly discernible as German. I can make out an und in gold lettering. Sufficient enough evidence.
If I cared about or even knew a small amount of German (aside from und), I would investigate the poor abandoned soul. But I don't. So I turn back around.
And there, at the desk where the lady with the narrowed eyes and dusty hair scrutinizes all who pass, a young man with daffodil hair and a smattering of freckles carefully inscribes his name onto the sign-in sheet. When he looks up, his gaze roams the room, cataloguing each table, each bookshelf, each stain on the rug, so it seems. So I like to think.
It's what I did when I first got here. I love libraries. I like to imagine everybody else loves them too even if it isn't so.
The librarian leans over her desk and says something somebody on the complete other side of the room is unable to hear. It is a blessing and a curse, my secluded little table.
The young man with the daffodil hair looks dead into my eyes, nods, and approaches my table. This is a shock. Okay. Um. Clean table (my less-of-a-curse-more-of-a-blessing table), task #1.
There is nothing to clean. I haven't unpacked yet. I just got here.
Task #2: Ruffle hair for volume.
I raise my hand to my head, but he's already over here, but a couple of steps away, about to say something, and here I am with my hand in my hair like a fool, pretending to be Fabio when I'm actually, well, much better-looking than Fabio.
Fake it until you make it, Aleksi. You can do this.
"Hello," daffodil-head says.
Well. That is one hell of an accent. I lean onto my hand and listen more closely. This will be fun.
"Ah, I have been told, um, only two students are allowed to a table, yes?"
I grin like an idiot. This is insider information and I'm privy to it. I feel an inappropriate surge of power. "Yes."
"Ah, okay, thank you," he says, promptly throwing his things onto my table (his table too now, I guess, er) and sliding into the chair across from me. "My name is Kaspar."
I stare at him. Should I shake his head? But this is high school. We don't shake hands here.
He reaches out his hand. I take it. Maybe we do shake hands here, what do I know?
And it was then that I made my acquaintance with daffodil-head.
"Where are you from?" I ask.
He smiles brightly. It's adorable. "I am from Germany."
So that's where the funny accent is from. Kaspar. From Germany.
Correction: It was then that I made my acquaintance with Schnitzel. The daffodil-head.
Schnitzel takes it upon himself to sit with me every day. I less than do not mind, I am ecstatic, but it would be remiss of me to admit that so I put on a horribly grumpy face whenever he approaches. If he knows that I enjoy his company and think he's beautiful he may run away because I'm a nerd petrified of rejection.
"Excuse me," he says, peering very blatantly at my book as if simply sitting across from me wouldn't be clue enough that he could read the title of it. "Is that an English grammar book?"
It is. I'm a dork. He's caught me. Excuse me while I hide forever, good-bye.
I wish I could be as articulate as you, Aleksi. Oh, wait, I am you, and you're not articulate at all.
Stop making snide comments to yourself. You don't process thoughts quickly enough and he's expecting you to engage in conversation.
Engage engage engage go go.
"… So complex, but ven you speak a similar language like German it can be so much fun."
Pause. Did he say what I think he said?
"Grammar? Is fun?"
He shoots me a movie-star smile. It's kind of sickening and makes me vaguely want to hit him in the face. Maybe it's just the sheer repulsiveness of all movie-star smiles (I hope it is). "Yes. Vould you mind terribly if I could see this book of yours?"
Alert. Alert. Conflict.
- I do mind terribly.
- He is beautiful and I do not want to disappoint him.
I almost close the book, face scrunched strangely as I try with all my might not to scowl and sneer, when the fire alarm goes off and blares throughout the library as if an ambulance were in here with us.
Schnitzel (I've forgotten his actual name) swipes his backpack from his chair (I leave mine, I am a fire-drill veteran), and we jog outside (we have to, we're in the very corner of the goddamned library and everybody is ahead of us) to catch up with the rest of the class. We jog through the halls, along the lockers, along the dozen other classes on this floor. We stop jogging because everybody is walking and the flood of turtle-people does not allow for an increase of speed beyond 2/mph.
Which is perfectly all right. We make it outside, safe and sound, into the pouring rain.
It is somewhat cold outside (October, New York, 2pm), however this is made all completely okay by the fact that Schnitzel is wearing a white shirt that, although thick enough for our school's well-heated interior, is completely unsuitable for heavy rain.
His shirt is now less opaque than appropriate for high school.
I can see his chest hair.
This is good. This is a good day.