by Shawn(ta) Smith
The black folding bike gets her too and from the Archive. Mounting the bike often feels like a chore, but when she sits, she’s reminded of the smooth sailing, the sound of the freshly laid out pavement hugging wheels turned forward. Uphill, she pedals until her calves burn, and sweat drips down her most closed parts. Downhill is her rapture; she flies into a pressuring daze and the thick breeze enables her dress to dance before she stops affront the park slope limestone.
She places her key into the Medco lock then disables the Archives alarm. The first one there, it seems, even the caretaker is gone for the day. Silence clouds the room, and she wishes already for more time to rummage through the books on the wall, sit on the couch, ponder her life, sleep, even open a new collection and cry with its contents. Instead, she turns the workroom lights on, lays her helmut and bag to the corner, makes Special Lesbo Blend coffee, and reaches to check the messages.
The Voicemail box has a bright red “3” in its center. She presses its release, and the robotic male voice sounds, “3 new messages, 1st message…” A woman begins to speak hesitantly, as if she is afraid of her own purpose:
“Hi, I’m interested in coming by the, umm, Lesbian Archives today, wanted to just browse your film collection. Is, is that okay? Maybe I can see one, or do I need an appointment? I see you open at 1pm and close at 6pm. I can be there at 1:30. Is that enough time? Please call me by 1 to let me know if I shouldn’t come. Thank you. Oh, uh, my number is…”
After writing down this shaky woman’s number, Paige refrains from checking the other messages, and reaches to make the call.