Anthropomorphosis of a Book This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

May 10, 2017
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You know, it’s a really really good thing I’m not claustrophobic. I sit here, day after day, week after week squeezed between the side of the bookshelf and this other book. It might be a bit more pleasant squeezed between two other books, rather than up against the side of the shelf, but nope, just my luck, I’m right where I am. The wood shelf is hard and unforgiving, so I press myself against the book next to me. There isn’t even a quality view from where I stand. My permanent residence is the far corner of the bottom shelf. But that’s what you get when your cover is tattered and perpetually dusty. I was loved, but I’m a “classic” so the young boy who owns me isn’t ever going to read me. At least not right now. I swear, by the time he picks me up I’m going to be paper thin, all my pages pressed together is to a squished block of whatever you call a solid block of paper. I continue to stand here, getting the occasional break from my hard binding being compressed. Humans always complain about their backs hurting and we all know that comes from their vertebrae being compressed from top to bottom, but have they ever tried it from the side? That’s just a tad bit more uncomfortable. Though maybe, next time I’m pulled out of this shelf I will be taller. That would be a welcome change. I’m so short compared to the rest of these books. Publishers must have had only one option to print books in because out of all the books I know, which is obviously very few, given that I haven’t moved from this spot for years, many of the older ones like me are short; short with small print. It’s underwhelming. Here were are, supposed to be these great works of literature, intimidating the younger books, and instead we sit here getting dustier by the day feeling like short, old grandparents because young adults can’t seem to unplug themselves.
It only seems like yesterday I was put in this bookshelf by the hands of my loving previous owner who said to her small child, “Someday you will read this book, and you will love it. It changed my life, and I hope it changes yours.” She even wrote in me. That’s what I’m meant for, isn’t it? Passed down through the generations, inspiring people, changing reader’s perception of the world. But now I stand on the shelf, pages being pressed slowly together, looking out on a young man on a computer. Most of the books he puts next to me say AP, SAT, and College on them. A small child, then a young man, who next thing I know is packing cardboard boxes full of clothing and supplies because it looks like he’s going away. Where to? I wonder. Until he comes over to me. His eyes scan the entire bookshelf, and then he goes away again. Day turns to night, and night turns to day, but then he’s back, with a box, not as big as the one he put clothes in, but larger than the one that currently lies next to his dresser. As I sit there, books from the top shelf are pulled off the shelf and carefully placed into the box. He fits each one carefully in, like pieces of a puzzle. I’m semi-shocked to see how delicately he’s places each one in, as if every one is a fragile piece of china. I feel myself become slowly becoming less compressed, and then the young man’s hands delicately grasp my binding and pull me off the shelf. Oh what a relief, air flowing freely across my cover, a slight whisper of a breeze through my pages as he flips me open to read the title. Instead of flipping to the title page, he stops one page before, and I remember an inscription written so so long ago. His gaze takes in every loopy letter of the script that decorates my first page. His eyes sparkle with tears as he runs his fingers over the inscription, the delicate pen marks that barely made a dent. I can tell he’s never read the inscription, which I guess makes sense, because he was probably just learning how to read when it was given to him. I don’t know what the inscription says, but obviously it’s meaningful to him. He places me in the box with the other books that he’s taken out of his bookshelf. Not a single one says college, SAT, or AP on them. None of them are fat textbooks, but all my old friends are in the box, so I figure he must be off to college. Oh, how time can fly.
I spend that night lying in the top of the cardboard box with all the other books. In the morning the young man opens me again, this time flipping through my delicate pages. He dusts off both covers blowing gently at my slightly tattered edges and through my worn, yellowing pages. When he goes to put me back in the box, he stops. Instead he takes me out of his room. I’m surprised to find that since I was brought into his room, the hallway that I see has been changed. It is hardly recognizable, since the dull, drab, grey that was once there has been replaced by a pale yellow that glows warmly in the sunlight that filters through the windows. He takes me down the hall, past his parents’ bedroom. I glance quickly in it and see the same bed, but there are pillows on one side of the bed, one bedside table with one pair of glasses, and a single lamp. The bed is neatly made, and one basket of laundry sits on the floor filled with men’s clothing. I realize why the young man almost began crying.
He turns into the laundry room, still holding me. He sits down on the floor, opens the cabinet in front of him, and begins pulling out opaque, white, plastic boxes. I can tell he’s searching for something, and he seems to find it in the last plastic box. When he opens, the only things that sit in the bottom are a folded up pillowcase and a long white grosgrain ribbon. The pillowcase is pale blue with a hint of where pink flowers might have been a long time ago. The outside of the pillowcase smothers me, and I feel him tie the ribbon around me like a present: around the top and sides and tied off with a bow. I can tell he puts me back in the box, and then suddenly it is dark, and I hear the cardboard flaps being put together so that they will stay folded up for the trip.
It is hard to keep track of what sort of vehicle I am in, and especially how long I spend wrapped up in the pillowcase, in the dark of the box. I think that the box is in the back of a car, because the ride is a little bumpy. Each bump is dampened a little bit by the cushioned back seat, which makes me glad the box is not in the trunk of what I believe to be the car. It seems like more than many hours, potentially days, until the box is finally moved out the vehicle. Light shines through the cracks in the cardboard, but I am still smothered by the pillowcase. I know the young man wanted to protect me, but I still feel overwhelmed by the enveloping fabric. Somebody carries the me and the other books in the box somewhere and sets us down. We wait for sometime. We wait long enough that I begin to worry that we’ve been left here and instead of taking us to college the young man has decided that he no longer wants any of us. Much to my relief he returns and I hear the cardboard flaps slide open away from each other. Artificial lamp light floods the box and I am picked up and placed on a new bed in a new room. In the room, there are two desks with bookshelves, two beds, two desk chairs, and two bureaus. One of the bureaus is clear, while my young man’s already has momentos, framed photographs and a watch on it. While I’m on the bed, I watch him empty the cardboard box of books into the bookshelf. I find myself not only wondering whether I will be put in the bookshelf, but hoping that I will be. It would be a relief to be in something somewhat familiar in this entirely new room. Once he is finished emptying the box, he puts it on his desk chair, climbs into his bed. Instead of putting me in the bookshelf, he grabs me, flips to the first page, and begins to read.






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