Dr. Paul's office was in the back of the library. He showed up late day, a few days a week, so I often went back there to escape, sit on the leather examining table and stare at the black and white polio vaccination poster, as well as the Snow White poster with all seven dwarfs telling me to eat well and attend regular check-ups. Dr. Paul was a gentle man with sandy blonde hair, sort of like a cloned John Denver. He even wore those hip circular gold-rimmed glasses. He was a young country doctor in crisp white shirts and pressed slacks. When he arrived I'd quietly slip away somewhere else.
Out back of the building was a huge wall cooling system with a waterfall of water running down slats and grids. The alley extended to a neighborhood fence, and beyond that, Victorian houses with pointed roofs and lavender shingles.
One morning my mother arrived at the library only to find the back door had been busted open. Broken glass lay shattered everywhere, shards with blood-stained tips. The cash box had been stolen, and the robber long fled into pre-dawn, escaping through the alley with drips of blood slowly tapering.
Cops arrived and took notes. Dr. Paul showed up and he and Mom grouped together telling secrets.
That afternoon I stood looking at the wall grid with its acidic water pouring down, and stared at the blood on the gravel. It was hot outside, humid. A few clouds swam in and out of a pale sky. I felt glued to the earth; sad, violated, no longer quite so young.