For every person, there's one book on the library's many shelves that defies all others. You find the cover exquisite and beautiful in every way and as you look through the pages you learn more about the book and you fall for it. It becomes your everything. You read the words with care and you understand. Sometimes you even write back, letting the ink soak through and the book comforts you and makes you smile, laugh. It's there for you. And it's pages wipe away your tears. As you grow older the book's pages wither too, but to you it only grows more beautiful with every year. Some will read their book over and over and never get tired of it. Some will read the pages and get bored but they will quickly return to their friend, their blanket of words. Then there are some who eventually, unfortunately shove their book under the pillow for a while, taking out the bookmark and forgetting about it. They go to the library and find another book almost as good as the first one, almost. For a few weeks, the book is forgotten. Finally they will return to grab the book under their pillow. They reach and finally they reveal the book, but it looks different. The cover is not the same, of course the words inside are, but the reader doesn't care. The new beauty of the book scares them and it hurts their eyes. Without even bothering to open it up and review the once comforting, once pleasant, once favorite words, they tuck the book away. Out of sight. Finally, it must become a burden to carry the unused book because the reader trudges off to the library. First, taking their time slowly, as if to say, "maybe I'll keep it around. After all it was my favorite. It was the BEST." But they change their mind and the pace quickens and finally they break into a run. Break out into a dead sprint. As they bust through the doors, the book pleads to be opened and read once more. But the reader refuses and slips the book carelessly into the drop slot. The book lies there, waiting. And finally it is replaced back on the shelf. One day the library doors open and in walks the person who once loved that special, special book. The book dusts itself off and straightens it's spine, but the person doesn't even acknowledge it. They walk right on past to another shelf and with every step they take away, the books leafy pages droop with pain and embarassment. Eventually the person picks up another book and you can tell by their eyes that they are totally forgotten of the once best book. They settle in the chair so obviiously close to the had-been. With every turn of a page the once-had takes, the had-been loosens a seam, begging to be picked up off the dusty, dark, damp shelf.
The Library Book
December 10, 2008