Ruth approaches Rusty as he enters the Little Cleveland.
“Hi Rusty, how are you doing?”
“Excuse me. I think you’ve mistaken me for someone else. My name is Randy.”
Ruth stares at this man. She knows it is Rusty. Rusty has befriended her. What is going on?
Randy continues “are you going in too? I’m picking up a movie for my girlfriend. She just loves Pride and Prejudice .”
Randy opens the door and motions for Ruth to enter.
Ruth is shocked to discover that the Little Cleveland is no more. She finds the library instead.
The librarian smiles at Ruth and asks if she needs anything. Ruth shakes her head and takes a seat in one of the wingback chairs. She puts her head in her hands and rests her elbows on her knees.
After a few minutes, Ruth approaches the librarian and asks if the library has undergone any changes recently.
“Not really. Oh, we finally got the chimney fixed. There was an unveiling a few weeks ago. But no, the library has been running the same as always.”
“OK” Ruth responds. She returns to the chair, and stares into the distance.
“I’m losing my mind” she thinks.
Something catches Ruth’s eye – a bird has flown past one of the windows, and she glances in that direction. Her gaze falls on a display titled “How Government Works”.
Ruth gets up and takes a look at the materials. She starts reading a pamphlet explaining how to teach civics at the high school level.
“This is perfect for our civics bee” she thinks.
Ruth discovers that the other materials are full of information about government structure, how to pass a bill, and how appropriations work. There are even testimonials from people who have held civics events for high school students.
The afternoon passes quickly, and the librarian announces that closing time is approaching. Ruth, who has forgotten about her disagreement and likely break-up with George, and the strange circumstances with the Little Cleveland/Wellesley Hills Branch Library, is brought back to a painful, confusing reality.
As she leaves, she asks if the library will be open tomorrow.
“From 10 until 8” the librarian responds.
Ruth thanks her, and decides she will be back tomorrow, equipped to gather ideas for the civics bee.
After leaving the building, Ruth walks down Washington St. towards Wellesley Hills Center. She thinks she hears her name being called, but keeps walking.
A moment later, someone is tapping her on the shoulder.
“Ruth, it’s me, George.”
Speechless, Ruth wheels around and finds George standing in front of her.
“Ruth, I’m so sorry about how I treated you the other night. I’ve never met anyone like you. I thought about what I said to you, and I realized that I would be a fool to lose someone who has so much integrity. I hope you forgive me.”
Stunned, Ruth looks at George. No man she has known has ever valued her priorities.
“Of course, George.”
“Oh, I’m so happy. Are you still free Saturday evening for a picnic at the South Natick dam?”
“Yes, that would be lovely.”
“You can tell me all about how planning is going for the civics bee, and I can tell you about the antique show. Why don’t we celebrate and get some ice cream? There’s a place not too far down the street.”
Ruth agrees, and they walk arm in arm down Washington St.