Synopsis: Legend tells of an inquisitive girl who wanted to know everything. She read every book she could and became a librarian. She retained everything she ever learned. She wasn't truly 'tested' until she was invited to participate in every known trivia game known to man. She truly possessed knowledge beyond a normal human capacity but that as due to practice and repetition. People worldwide now come to Veronica Emerson for advice and nicknamed her 'Arcana'-the source of Wisdom.
She feels somehow empty, however, without a partner, until a certain stranger visits the library and asks a profound question that can be answered in thousands of ways.
Chapter 1-One Woman's Quest
Veronica Emerson, by nature, was insatiable when it came to books. Her parents couldn't keep her away from libraries or bookstores. Despite being 'bookish', she also kept herself in shape as the star goalie through her high-school years. She adored dancing and singing in showchoir but didn't have many friends. Many of her peers jeered her and made fun of her behind her back but she always counted on her parents to be by her side no matter the decisions she made. As she became older, there were so called 'friends' she relied upon in her academic life, but books had always remained her constant companions. At least they didn't maniplate her into writing essays for them or 'borrowing' her perfectly written notes for class.
By the time Veronica finished college, she had become a full-fledged librarian. She never felt that she had wasted her life. In fact, her academic life had taken her all around the world and she had undertaken a massive quest to 'know everything in existence'. Her mind was just the sort that could retain anything she had written, seen, heard or touched. She didn't know if such a thing as becoming wisdom incarnate could be achieved, but she was about to put the human mind, and herself to the test by becoming the first ever living encyclopedia.
It hadn't taken Veronica long to absorb the necessary information she needed to become what others would soon nickname her, 'Arcana'. Arcana, in the ageless understanding, was 'arcane' wisdom, the wisdom of the ages, even beyond the knowledge of Solomon, who had been reputed to have been the wisest (although when it came to his wives and worldly goods he lacked common sense) man living. She wanted to test her mental mettle in quiz shows. Whatever game show putting the mind to the ultimate challenge, she wanted to be part of it. Even if she won a huge amount of money, it wasn't about to be used for her own worldly gain. She would use most of it for charity. Whatever was leftover would go to her parents first in keeping their household amenities paid. The small amount she had after all that was spent would go into paying off college loans, but between her two jobs, she was close to eliminating all of her debt.
Chapter 2-No Quiz Show Too Obscure
In the days that followed, Veronica called her truest fans and friends, her mom and dad, Bernice and Trent Emerson. Both of them had been encouraging her to try her 'quiz show challenge' vision out in reality. She wasn't very keen on being under vast amounts of stress or wearing heavy amounts of makeup (typically she went with her own natural beauty and charm), so she had to force herself to be accepted as part of every single gameshow's audition. She first began with the more well-known shows such as Jeopardy, You Don't Know Jack, and Win Ben Stein's Money. Some were cancelled but being broadcast as webisodes and alive and well in that form of media.
The attention that Veronica recieved from her newfound fame soon began to wear thin. Before long, she was being known as the next Ken Jennings and she wanted a bit of time for herself. Her last stops were with well-known daytime quiz shows such as Price is Right and Let's Make a Deal. She kept her family out of 'teamwork' oriented shows such as Family Feud since she didn't want them to suffer the harassment of being harangued by the media. The last show she attended was the well-known but faded into obscurity Weakest Link. After exploring historical sites and savoring a proper English breakfast she traveled home, once again finding sanctuary in 'her' library.
She had earned enough money to pay off all kinds of bills and her parents could live comfortably now. Many charities had become her best friend but Veronica, or as she was known by many in the neighborhood as 'Arcana' felt as though something was lacking. There was still a gaping black hole in her heart, a void which not even her adventures around the world could possibly fill.
Chapter 3-The Archeologist's Ultimate Question
A man from Palestine was curious about Veronica's conquests and travels and wanted to meet her and see the library that was under her charge. His name was Alim Balig, which suited his personality to perfection. He had never been too far from Palestine, but having been an archeologist he too, was an adventurer and had made countless discoveries in his craft.
Alim packed up all his worldly possessions to travel to the United States and witness 'Arcana' for himself. So many stories had been told about her and he just had to see whether they were true or not.
It had taken a while to re-adjust but Alim had overcome his jetlag from the flight before. It would take a while to create a new life for himself here, but he knew he would find plenty of work for himself to do and he would become beneficial to thousands of people. His course presently, was determinedly focused. He wanted to meet and interview the woman called Veronica Emerson. First he would have to locate Merryfield Library, but the roads here in the States were becoming easier to navigate. He acclimated himself to driving on the 'right' side of the road, followed all the rules and before he knew it was at the hallowed doors of the library. Adjusting his red tie and straightening out his navy blue suit, he strode in with confidence and an air of aristocracy.
Veronica had been busying herself putting books back in place that had been left on the library's coffee tables or on the computer consoles. In no time at all, she had cleaned up the 'stragglers' and everything was cleaner than Sunday's shoes. The minute she turned around, her green eyes beheld one of the most handsome men she had ever seen. He had mocha skin, dark wavy, ebony hair, and the darkest chocolate eyes. Immediately she was drawn into them and felt herself become flushed when he gazed her way.
'Veronica Emerson, I presume ?' he said, in impeccable English. She knew the man was a foreigner, because he still had a bit of an Arabic accent. It was lovlier than any audio book or symphony she had listened to .
'Yes. What brings you to the United States ? I can sense you're not from here. Are you Pakistanian, Iranian, Iraqui, Egyptian, Israeli or Palestinian ?', she questioned, curiously. Not only was she perceptive but during the moments she had been listening to Rosetta Stone's language courses, she had picked up the ability to discern accents as well.
'Very well deduced. The reports were not kidding that you earned the title of Arcana.', Alim said, in a state of exhilleration. He was amazed at Veronica's vast amount of knowledge, and her beauty defied reason itself. It seemed she herself was the embodiment of earthly beauty with her curly ginger locks and curvaceous body, dressed in retro clothing circa 1920, all the accessories matching a green color scheme.
'I would prefer you call me Veronica.', Veronica retorted, playfully. For the first time, she felt flirty and she knew this man was complimenting and courting her. It was sensational and her heart felt uplifted. For a moment in time, she knew what the poets were writing about when concerning love. Time itself does indeed come to a standstill.
The archeologist sat at a table to quietly interview Veronica until the two became quite hungry.
'There are quite a few eateries around here. I could show you around, if you didn't mind.', Veronica said. She almost thought she had gone completely daft asking him to accompany her. In fact, she knew she was being bold in this unpresedented move. Gladly, Alim accepted, and the two proceeded to have lunch at a deli not too far from Merryfield Library. Her shift had ended for the day and the apprentice librarian would be taking care of everything now that Veronica's day was through at the library.
Alim was quite the enchanter and Veronica was surprised such a man did not have a lovely wife and remarkable children at his side. With him, she laughed more than with any of her librarian friends or even her parents. She even dared to think this was perhaps, her kindred soul.
'I have a question for you, Veronica.', Alim said inbetween sips of iced chai and vigorous, lusty bites of his Reuben sandwich.
'What is it ?', she said, equally curious about what this man from Palestine of all places, could have come across seas just to see her in person and inquire her about.
'What is the meaning of life ?', Alim asked, melliflously. She almost wanted to answer '42' facetiously but knew this question had been asked in all seriousness.
'This philosophical question has been asked since mankind first understood what he percieved his role in the Universe. It all depends on perception. For me, I see life as a school. Every day, we learn something new that helps us along our journey. We create our own destinies and form them with our whims.', Veronica stated.
'Hmm, that's quite profound. Did you come upon this conclusion for yourself or are you ascribing to another's viewpoint ?', Alim questioned again, adjusting his hornrimmed glasses. He had placed his hand atop Veronica's and was idly brushing it with his thumb. It was the most incredible sensation of electricity she had ever felt and she felt transported for a moment. Again, her heart was singing and if she were in one of her favorite fantasy novels, she would've sworn she had the ability of levitation.
'It is my own, Alim. Every day, I encounter something different. For instance, yesterday, I didn't know that the skin makes up about 15 to 19 percent of our body weight. Not only that but it is extremely powerful. All our perception comes from touch, and being tactile, we desire and need touch. This has been proven scientifically in many experiments and we have seen that from infancy, those infants that are cuddled and nurtured from birth grow much faster and their immune systems are much more formidible than infants who recieve no affection whatsoever.', Veronica retorted. Alim was breathless. He could not believe his ears, let alone how Veronica had been able to retain and recall this information at a moment's notice. He was completely captivated by her and couldn't stop listening to her explain the mysteries of the Universe itself. She indeed, was Wisdom incarnate. There wasn't any discounting or discrediting that.
Chapter 4-Journey in Tandem
Every weekend when Alim wasn't working on local tours around town or brushing up his knowledge on old archeological digs he had taken part in, he was seeing Veronica after her shift ended. The two were becoming closer together and the light and love that surrounded them was contagious. The duet didn't seem to notice that their affection for one another had taken upon almost an existence of its own but they were more than happy to have each other's company more than anything else in the world. Veronica was beginning to realize what she had been lacking for more than half of her life; a willing participant and eager co-conspiritor. He was a traveling companion, a fellow sojourner who understood her implicitly. Add to that the bonus of him being unafraid of her intellect, rhetoric and semantics. He adored being in her presense and felt edified just being in her shadow. Truly, it was love at its most marvelous form.
Before long, Alim began to drop hints that he wanted to marry Veronica. He had met her parents and she had seen his via Skype. The families coexisted perfectly and exhorted them in their persuits, whatever they were to be. They didn't force them to make decisions they would later regret, however, the two knew that marriage would soon be inevitable for them since being together had been the best thing that had happened to them in many years.
In about 2 years, Alim and Veronica tied the proverbial knot and spent their honeymoon in Fiji. It was unknown to most why they were traveling there, but to the two newlywed lovebirds, it was overt and more obvious than the nose on one's face. They traveled there to escape prodding and harassment from their families, and Fiji was the furthest point from them they could achieve. They both hoped neither side would take this to heart or be offended, and luckily they weren't because by the time they arrived home, they had even more stupendous news to share. Veronica was pregnant and would be expecting to deliver close to Alim's birthday in September. He couldn't have been happier and didn't prefer a boy or girl, only that the infant forming in her womb was healthy, nurtured and adored.
As with all legends, some pass into obscurity while the latter are simply forgotten and other pleasures engage the minds of society. This is what happened in 'Arcana's' case, but she never forgot her short-lived fame, or the abundance it provided. She was still living from that abundance. What she had held onto was going to make a fund for their little baby boy, Ahmad.
Ahmad was named after his grandfather, who was more than eager to meet this newest member of the Balig tribe. He jested and joked that he hoped Ahmad would have a sister or brother in his future but 'wasn't putting pressure on his favorite son' for this such thing. Alim told him, 'Inishalla', basically making the claim that Allah would be responsible for any further additions into the Balig clan. Veronica savored being a mom to Ahmad. He was extraordinarily formed and resembled his daddy more than she, but he did have her cute button nose and 'strong' Irish chin and squared shoulders. There was no telling what Ahmad would become, but one thing was certain, he wouldn't have any lack of imagination or awe living with such well-read parents. He was going to be loved immensely and there wasn't a thing he could do to prevent it. No matter where he went, he would be bouyed by his grandparents, in-laws, relatives and anyone who happened to fall under the spell of his endearing smile and hearty laughter.