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7 – Brad Transcript

[Hometown theme fades in]

Ashlyn: Hometown. Created by Aubree and Ashlyn Seibert.

[Theme fades out]

Kiera: Hello! Welcome back to Hometown! I am so excited about the story I have for you today. Today, I spoke to Brad and honestly I just had a really good time talking to him. And I thought his story was really interesting, and it didn’t end the way I expected. I hope you enjoy it.

[Cut to interview]

Kiera: Thanks again for agreeing to the interview.

Brad: Of course, yeah. [A slight pause] Uh… is there something you wanted me to talk about? Because I can do that… just… give me something to talk about and I’ll… do it.

Kiera: Well if you’d like to introduce yourself that would be a great place to start.

Brad: Well, um… I’m uh, I guess… my name is Brad. I’m a manager at a restaurant, but… that’s really not that interesting. And I’ve lived here all my life.

Kiera: What is it that makes you stay here?

Brad: Right. Um… that’s the point of all this yeah? To share what makes this town special?

Kiera: That’s the idea, yes.

Brad: Well, growing up I guess I had a pretty normal childhood. Nothing super distinctive. Grew up around good people at school, had the typical high school experience. I still see some of my old high school buddies sometimes which is kind of weird, but mostly fine. The people in my class were nice enough. I mean, aside from my first girlfriend. That was a mess. But other than that, I don’t know. This is just… it’s familiar. And sometimes yeah I’ll see new things, but generally… I mean, it’s everything. I guess it’s just… I don’t have a reason to leave, because this place… has everything.

Kiera: So, is there anything in particular that you feel makes this town special?

Brad: I mean, any town this size is going to have some similarities with here. You’ve got the local coffee shops, the small businesses and a couple of radio stations that run ads for local injury lawyers. But… I don’t know I think there’s just something about the familiarity of it all. Plus, you know, the library’s pretty great. I mean, I know other places have libraries that are probably bigger, but… I don’t know. I feel… it’s sort of a special for me.

Kiera: What makes you say that?

Brad: I mean, that’s where I… started getting into books… and uh… met some people…  

Keira: Would you like to talk about it?

Brad: Uh… yeah, I can. It’s actually kind of a funny story.

Kiera: Well, stories are what I’m here for.

Brad: Well, I was in the library a while back. I had to turn in some movies. My roommate hadn’t seen the Back To The Future movies yet, and I was able to convince him to watch them, but I didn’t have any of them so we rented them from the library. So… anyways I was returning the movies. Walked into the library. I tried to just return them, get in, get out,  but something was messed up with the book drop. I guess some kid tried to wedge multiple items in there at once and the said items were a bit sticky or something, so I had to return my stuff at the front desk. But… that’s when I saw her,

Kiera: Saw who?

Brad: The most beautiful girl I’d ever seen. She had gorgeous dark skin, and brown curls that softly brushed against her face. She had these bright orange cat eye glasses that drew a sharp contrast to the darkness of her complection and complemented the brightness of her smile, and behind them were light brown eyes that sparkled in the light. She was radiant. Every bit of her was made of sunshine. And for a moment, she smiled, and the world and everything in it seemed to hold its breath.

I was paralyzed. All I could do was look at her. I probably just stood there for a solid ten seconds before her head turned, and her hair fell in front of her face. I slowly walked to her desk.

I handed her my movie, and I thought about asking for her number, but I got kind of nervous and I didn’t want her to think I was some annoying idiot. Turning in a movie instead of a book was probably bad enough in her eyes. So I just kind of chickened out and started wandering around the library, kind of peeking through the shelves a bit. Which I realize sounds kind of stalker-ish when I say it out loud. I swear I’m not a stalker. She was just so radiant, I could hardly look away. So, I was just doing that. I was kind of scared.

Kiera: Why were you scared?

Brad: I, uh… I don’t know, I just didn’t really know how to react to her, I guess. I don’t really know how to explain it. I never experienced anything like that before.

Anyway, I finally came up with the grand scheme of checking out a book for an excuse to approach her again, maybe this time, I wouldn’t be intimidated, maybe I would be able to… you know… talk to her. Of course the book I checked out had to be the perfect book. Something that would maybe make her look up just a bit, and of course something that I felt like I could actually read all the way through, so if I came back and returned it and she was here I wouldn’t make a fool of myself.

So I looked for a long time and thought very carefully about it. I finally decided to look for some kind of sci-fi book. I always enjoyed sci-fi movies and such, so I thought that hopefully, something in that vein wouldn’t be too hard for me to get into. I ended up with, uh, Frankenstein. I think I was supposed to read it at some point in high school… but uh… that never happened. So it felt like I was fulfilling some responsibility as well as maybe, well hopefully impressing the “girl of my dreams.” And then I thought, “Who makes a whole trip to the library for just one book?” Not a well read person, that’s for sure. And obviously I wanted her to see me as a well read person. So I decided to pick two more. I uh ended up with 1984, which side note is a great book that everyone should read. I mean, I see why it’s not required reading, it does contain a bit of mature content, but it’s so good. Anyways, I ended up with 1984 and one of Kurt Vonnegut’s books. Slaughterhouse Five I think?

Kiera: Ooh that’s a good one.

Brad: Yeah, yeah. So I had all the books I needed. I took a few breaths and worked up all of the courage I muster. I started to walk to the counter, but when I got there she was gone. I kind of waited around a bit, pretending like I was still browsing. But she never came back. I finally just checked out the books and left. I threw them in the back seat of my car, upset at myself for being silly and wasting time dreaming about a girl. But then when I got home, I couldn’t stop thinking about the whole experience, especially her. So to distract myself, I got the books out of the car and started reading. I checked them out, so I might as well read them, I thought to myself. I started with the Vonnegut first. It was a bit shorter out of all of them, so it didn’t seem too intimidating. And actually I really got into it. It took up my whole attention, and I ended up staying up pretty late to keep reading.

It took me three days to finish it. And so three days later I had an excuse to go back to the library. And wouldn’t you know, there she was. I handed her the book, and she flashed that same breathtaking smile at me. I opened my mouth to speak to her… and then closed it and walked away. I went straight home and started reading Frankenstein. I was back two days later, but she wasn’t there. 1984, back two days later. She was there, wearing a bright yellow dress, which made her look like she was wrapped up in sunlight. And finally, I had a reason to talk to her. I walked up, handed her the book, and started talking. I told her the three books I had just read and asked her for help finding more to read. She smiled and told me she’d be happy to help me find some new titles. I left that day with a stack of ten books. I went home and started reading before I even took off my shoes. I don’t remember all of the individual books, but, uh, one of my favorites from that trip was The Martian.

The next time I saw her, I asked for even more recommendations. She introduced me to Lord of the Rings and H.P. Lovecraft. I asked her what her favorite book was, and she told me Alice in Wonderland. So naturally I checked that one out too of course.

And then suddenly… She was gone. I went back and she wasn’t there. I ended up going to the library every day for weeks, trying to be there at just the right time. But no luck. And I’d never even learned her name.

I finally decided to ask the other librarians about her. I told the older lady at the desk that one of the other librarians had been helping me find books, but I hadn’t seen her in a while, and then I described what she looked like. They said her name was Amber. I remember thinking that was the perfect name for her, because of the way her eyes reflected the light. It made me smile. But then the woman continued to tell me that Amber had moved out of state to a library that was about to open, and my heart dropped to the floor. I thanked her and left.

When I got home, I thought, “well, there’s no reason to go to the library anymore I guess.” But I still had a decent amount of books checked out, so I’d have to return those. But I figured first I might as well read them…So I did. But then some of those books had sequels or were parts of series. So obviously I had to read those too. And then there were the other books by those authors, and then there were books that I had heard of before but never read, and books referenced in the books I liked. So even though I didn’t keep going every day, I still ended up at the library about three times a week.

And something funny happened in the months following those couple of times I saw her. While I still wanted to see Amber again of course, going to the library slowly became less about that time I spent with her. I found myself reading types of novels that I would never have thought I would like, and falling in love with them. Epic fantasy novels, classics, even some poetry. Sci-fi and dystopian novels were still my favorites, but I developed a taste for memoirs and autobiographies as well.

And then before long, I actually kind of started to forget about her. It was all about the books.

Until, of course, one “fateful day”, as always happens in the books, you know? I was browsing the library, and someone next to me dropped a book, and I bent down to pick it up, and when I went to hand it to them…
It was her. I gave the book to her, and she smiled and thanked me, and then she was about to move on, and then she frowned. She asked me

“You look familiar, we’ve met before right?”

I nodded, speechless yet again.

“Oh right! You’re that guy that asked me for book recommendations a couple of times!”

And then we actually talked for a while. I asked her how everything was at the other library, and she smiled and told me how wonderful it was, how she had met someone there, how they had gotten engaged, how she was back in town for a bit so her parents could spend some time with the both of them before the big day. And I told her about how I’d really gotten into reading and how I really did enjoy Alice In Wonderland, and I really did see why she liked it so much. And there was just a good long moment with just the two of us there in that aisle in that library talking. And then pretty soon it was over, and she moved on to the aisle on one side and I moved on to the aisle on the other, but we both kept on browsing. And then, I checked out my books, I went home, I imagine she did the same. And I never saw her again.

As I walked away, I finally began to realize, that yeah, initially my reason for entering the library the second day, and the third, and fourth, and the fifth and so on, initially it was because I wanted to see her, to talk to her. But it became more than that after week three. My visits became less regular but still persisted. They transitioned into fostering something greater than some cheesy “love at first sight” romance, but it was a passion for reading. And maybe I’ll never talk to her again. But that’s okay. It’s not about that. The point is… I thought I was in love, when I wasn’t even close. But that’s what it took for me to discover something that is now such a big part of who I am. It was nice to get closure too.

Kiera: Yeah?

Brad: Of course. She met someone, and I found something important to me. It all worked out in the end. Just not really how I initially thought it would.

[End of interview]

Kiera: Well, that’s all for today! I hope you enjoyed this installment of Hometown. We’ll see you next time, until then, don’t be afraid to tell your story!

[Outro music fades in]

Ashlyn: Hometown is created by Aubree and Ashlyn Seibert. Today’s episode featured the voices of Aubree Seibert as Kiera, and T. H Ponders as Brad. Original music was composed by Jonathan Sandy. Find more of his work on spotify under Jonathan Sandy. Graphic design by Hannah Perkins.

Special thanks this week goes to Crystal Summers for her writing advice, and Brad Seibert for donating to our Indiegogo campaign.

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Thank you for listening, and we’ll see you for our next episode Jenne on June 13th.

Until then, don’t be afraid to tell your story