5. StacksShe loved to be surrounded by the books. The library, in a real sense, was her home. The idea of being in the middle, the literal center, of all the knowledge collected around her filled her with a sense of wonder and a sense of purpose.

Her friends kidded her about wanting to go to the library. They could pull up everything they would ever need to know on their computers, on their laptops — hell, on their phones — without ever having to step foot in the musty old building that she loved.

Her friends, she long ago decided, were idiots.

Who would choose cold information over the warmth of these books? This “musty old building” contained wonders — so many that she would never get to see them all.

In her manic phases, though, she thought that maybe, just maybe, she could.

Even in her depressive phases, when she could manage to get here, the library provided solace. She felt the most alone, then, but not here. Not surrounded by the words and works of people she would never meet who still spoke to her.

Each book, for a time, was someone’s life. It was what they did. It was who they were. Each book was a peak into someone else’s head, someone else’s life.

She liked to lose herself in the stacks, pick a book at random, and learn. Surrounded by her true friends, who accepted her for what she was.