I walk silently down the passageway. It feels hushed, yet I am surrounded by the screaming voices of hundreds, maybe thousands of messengers vying for my attention. In the midst of this silent noise, I slow down, trying to take it all in. The passage and everything in it seems so clean, almost sterilized, except for the messengers. They vary in age, and the older they are, the more worn out and filthy they seem. Covered in dirt and smudges of lord knows what, their thin coverings are often worn or torn around the edges. Some of them barely seem able to stand up straight, but there are so many packed together along the passage that they stay vertical with no room to fall.
Some of the messengers speak with the voices of old friends, who I have visited time and again, yet long to spend another late night and give up another secret. Others are only vaguely familiar, we may have spoken once or twice, but they never made much of an impression. Still others are completely new and foreign. It seems strange that some that are old can seem completely knew to my virgin ears.
What do they say? Well, they all say the same thing, really: Pick me. Choose me. Give me a chance. I have something wonderful, something mysterious, something new to show you. I’ll give you an adventure you could never have dreamed of. I’ll change the way you see the world. I’ll express the deepest joys and longings of your heart in ways you never thought possible. Just give me a chance.
Despite my love of these adventures and deep desire to learn everything they have to tell me, I come here rarely. I have to be the right mood to face these insistent little messengers. Sometimes it breaks my heart to realize I may never know all the secrets they have to divulge. Today, I feel up to the adventure. The monotony of life is slowly drowning me, and this long, quietly noisy passage is my only escape. I walk even more slowly, stopping to speak with a messenger here and there, trying to wrap my mind around which one to choose.
I really am not sure I could tell you what dictates the final decision. It might be just one or two perfect words the strike my fancy. It might be a voice that sounds so close to my own, or to someone I love. It might be that this messenger happens to be a friend of a friend, and that friend thought we might get along. I might just like the look of it. Somehow, finally, through the confusion and the sea of quiet voices, I choose just one from the crowd.
I step out of the silent roar of the library, slipping the book that I had chosen so carefully into my bag. The murmur of traffic and voices of children across the street sooth my tired mind as I begin my walk home.