The Land of Books

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I steal away slowly into the shadows,
The bearlike snores a reassuring sound to my pounding heart,
And tiptoe timidly towards the reading room,
Wincing at every little creak or groan of my old house.
Willing myself to make as little noise as possible,
I hold my breath, not daring to make a sound,
As if my burning chest could make me any quieter.

Drip drip, teases the leaky faucet,
Its droplets pounding gongs ringing painfully in my eardrums.
I wanted to clasp my hand over the mouth of every noise,
And tell them to SHUT UP!
Every noise became a mischievous pixie grinning maliciously,
With knifelike teeth bared wide, waiting for the moment to turn on me,
And expose me, as a thief caught red handed, 
Leaving me cornered, without my bodyguard,
the swift, stealthy darkness of the night to protect me
And growl menacingly in the faces of unwanted intruders.

I gulp, heart jumping in my throat,
My palms sweating like a fountain,
And step forward hesitantly,
Instantly welcomed by the comforting hug of my childhood best friend.
A friend I could always rely on,
when my tears threatened to drown me,
or when I just needed a good belly laugh.
She never left me alone at the playground,
with only a jump rope in my hand,
looking off into the distance with confusion,
feeling tiny, thinking it was all my fault, that I had scared her off.

Instead I can always visit her anywhere, anytime,
Whenever I open a book, she’s there with me,
My loyal companion, as I enter the mystical worlds of my beloved authors.

Now, she takes my hand, laughing, as she pulls me with her,
“Come on!” She says, “It’ll be fun I promise.”
The wave of warmth from her smile is all the tugging I need.
I smile back, relaxing, feeling alive with a jolt of excitement,
My knee bouncing up and down with anticipation, I cradle my book,
And open up to the first page, diving headfirst and landing with a splash.
I’m hooked.

We ride off into the sunset, our heads held high on our majestic steeds,
Fearless warriors who can run like light, zigzagging through mazes with ease and confidence.
We whoop and cheer with delight,
Stabbing stakes through the hearts of bloodthirsty, ravenous vampires,
Bringing peace to the world, allowing the townspeople, previously hibernating in terror,
To step outside, and put their faces up to the warm sunlight,
And marvel at all the wondrous creations that nature so intricately crafted.

We are brave, we are strong, staring death in the eyes and laughing with overconfidence.
But most of all, we are invincible, surviving thousands of deaths,
Reborn from our ashes, like a phoenix, we always rise.

In contrast, in real life I am a puppet, obedient and controlled by others who yank my strings,
Making me cry out with small kitten-like yelp but not really fighting back.
The world is a gray blur, with everyone in a 9 to 5 schedule,
Fighting to make something happen, take their bite of the world,
While I stare out the window, hand under my chin, feeling like nothing,
A blade of grass wavering in the wind of society, living but not alive,
Passionless with about as much determination as a melting snowman,
Crying out weakly, “Help! I’m melting!” without a reason to live,
to fight the cruelty of the sun that burns down on my dripping body.
And so I become a puddle, unable to resist as delighted children stomp all over my body.

I close my book and sigh wistfully, it’s time for bed,
Maybe tomorrow morning it will all click and I will know exactly what to do.
Until then, I’ll keep smiling and nodding along.

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