The next day, I enter the library as soon as it opens. The librarian I talked to last night is scanning books and putting them on a cart. She smiles at me, giving me a little nod. I smile back.
By the end of the week I’ve read most of the interesting comics in the kids section, so even though I have little interest in the boring adult section books, I decide to explore that part of the library. It's much bigger than the kids section. There's a long wooden desk in the centre, with chairs on either side of it and outlets in the middle. I guess people come here to do their work sometimes. I can’t really imagine working in a library though. They’re always so quiet. I’m terrible at focusing in silence.
These bookshelves are much taller than the ones in the kids section, so I can’t just glance over them and see the whole room. It isn’t until I'm in the back corner of the room that I find them. Computers! Actual computers. I don't think I’ve been on a computer even once my whole life. I know these computers are old, they're all big and boxy, but it doesn’t matter. I bet Baz has some fancy new sleek computers. He would probably laugh at how excited I am over these old things.
The chair is one of those chairs you’re supposed to be able to spin in, but every time the chair turns it lets out a little screech, so I try not to move it too much. I run my hands over the well worn keyboard. I can see some of the letters have faded from use, but luckily I can still read them enough to decipher which one each key is. I press a button and the screen comes to life. I'm using a computer for the first time! But when it asks me for the number code on my library card. How the fuck am I supposed to get a library card?
There's a loud bang from the front desk. I look over and the librarian is picking up a huge hardcover book that fell on the ground. She seems to be struggling to even lift it. Of course! I bet she would know how to get a library card.
“Hey, do you know how I can get a library card?”
“Oh for sure, honey.” She walks over to the computer on the front desk. “I just need your name and proof of your current address.”
“Um, what do you mean proof?”
“Just a letter addressed to you or something.”
“Oh well, I- um…” What do I do? Do I tell her? I hate the look people give me when they find out. I don't want her pity. But I really want to use that computer, so I cave. “I live in the care home down the street. I don’t really get any letters.”
She pulls a plain white envelope out of her desk and puts a stamp in the upper left corner. “Now I’m not really allowed to do this, but I wont tell if you wont.” She gives me a little wink. “Just write in your name and address as if you were going to mail it to yourself.”
I write it in my messy scrawl trying to at least make it clear enough that she can read it. I slide it back across the table to her. She types some more on her computer, then passes me a library card.
“There you go, Simon.”
I sign into the computer, and pretty quickly realize that I have no idea what to do next. I can imagine Baz laughing at me right now. Crowley Snow, is there anything you actually can do? I wonder what he's doing right now. He’s probably plotting. Maybe he’s stealing Agatha from me. Probably flirting with her at his posh club. The thought of Baz dating her fills me with anger.
Surely I should check and see what he's doing, for the safety of the World of Mages. Maybe I should find out where he is and stop his plots. I bet he wouldn’t expect that. A little black line at the beginning of the search bar flashes on and off. I look down at the keyboard and slowly type in Tyrannus Basilton Grimm-Pitch, then I click ENTER.
I click on the first link that comes up. I end up spending a while skimming through articles about his fathers business, and his house, which is apparently some historical building. None of the articles are very interesting, or give me any clues about his plots, so I decide to start looking through the images instead. There are some images of his father, shaking hands with some important looking men. I ignore those, and immediately click on an image of Baz. He’s sitting at a table (maybe eating at a restaurant?), wearing a navy floral button up. The top few buttons are undone so the beginning of his collarbone is visible. His head is turned slightly so he can smirk at someone out of frame. It’s so unfair that he can look that good just sitting at a table. Baz has always been way fitter than me. Just another thing to add to the list of stuff he’s perfect at.
I try to stop the anger that bubbles up inside of me, bringing my magic with it. A man sitting at a table nearby turns to look at me, his nose wrinkled at the smell of smoke. I turn away from him before he can get mad at me, looking back at the photo. Who is he smirking at? Is it Agatha? My magic rises to the surface at the thought of it. Baz and Agatha, maybe on a date in that restaurant. Baz smirking flirtatiously at her. The thought brings me back to the last time I saw either of them. Holding hands in the forest, staring into each other's eyes.
Maybe this is one of Baz’s plots too, trying to distract me with that photo so I’ll be too distracted to figure out what else he might be planning. Well you know what Baz? It's not going to work. I’m about to click away from the photo when I realize it's a screenshot of one of Baz’s posts on instagram. Aha! I can use his instagram to figure out what he’s plotting.
In a new tab I search for instagram. It won’t let me in unless I make an account, and for that I need an email, which I don’t have. This whole plan is starting to feel like a wild goose chase. Maria (I can see her nametag better today and it’s definitely Maria) comes over to let me know that the library is about to close. She also reminds me to log out of the computer before I leave.
As I lay in my bed, staring at the peeling white paint of the care home walls, I can’t help but feel like a failure. I haven’t found much of anything, and I can’t look at Baz’s instagram until I’m back at the library, which won’t even be open tomorrow. I thought I had found a perfect refuge, but the library closes every Sunday, so tomorrow I’ll either be stuck here, or wandering around the streets until dinner.