Rictus Grin

Maisie was back at the Mary Blount College library, now that it was the end of the day. It was Thursday, but it was a long weekend before the Easter holiday. She sat in the soft sunlight from the high windows, looking through a literary magazine, looking for something beautiful or thoughtful or awe inspiring in it’s pages.

A little after 5 on a holiday weekend, not many were around. The two librarians at the front desk chatted among themselves. A smattering of students were still studying. The place was calm and still, like an estuary away from a troubled sea.

Maisie kept reading, trying to find inspiration and solace. She was becoming more of her extroverted self, from before her mental illness struck her down. When she was a child she knew no strangers, was a little chatterbox who would talk to anyone. When the darkness fell, she retreated into herself, and her own eerie dreams.

She’d gotten to be more and more like that previous self, since becoming the mail girl here at Mary Blount, and she’d learned that making people laugh got them on your side and disarmed them. Everyone liked to laugh. Everyone wanted something to feel good about.

But some days the smile was hard to wear. Some days it was hard to joke around and be the light they now expected her to be. Some days she felt obligated to be the jokester they loved, even when she felt the darkness clawing back from the emptiness, trying to choke out her spirit and drag it back into the bottomless pit.

Work was over for a few days, and she could recharge, and do fun things. Maybe see a romantic movie, or watch the softball team play, or maybe get to the park and spend sometime in the sun. Maybe she’d feel inspired and driven again.

Her phone tinged, and she looked to see a text from her lover. They would be back in town soon. They would celebrate. She sighed and got up and put up the magazine on the rack, and left to walk home.

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