the love affair
it all started in grade six when we were brought to the library and asked to pick a book that we will have to borrow and write a report about. i picked a large picture book about ducks. or geese. or something with feathers and bills. anyway, we didn’t jive, the book and me, but i found some satisfaction in the process of choosing a book, checking it out, and reading it page by page at home.
so when i returned the book the next week i went to the shelves again and picked another picture book (and i can’t remember for the life of me what it was all about). i returned it the next day having finished it on the way out of the library on the day that i borrowed it. and so it went for a whole week. return, go to shelf, borrow, return, back to shelf.
then i realized why am i picking books in just one part of the library (the part where colorful cushions, the alphabet carpet, and midgets all huddle together)? why not in other areas where people are of more normal heights? so i went to this shelves of thicker, albeit dustier books, picked out one by random and checked it out. i picked a hardy boys novel and the love affair started.
i couldn’t stop reading. page after page after page. i didn’t know until that point that books can be exciting, that it can open up worlds i could not have imagined, and that it would enable me to turn my back on my life for just a moment and feel what it is like to fly. i fell in love.
and as love affairs go, the early days were like a whirlwind of fond memories and stolen moments. i would grope for the book upon waking up and clutch at it until i fall asleep. i would read under my desk during classes and race towards the library to get a new one at the end of the school day. it came to a point that i am running out of books to read in the library and so i searched other libraries. i befriended classmates i haven’t spoken to before just to be able to borrow books, and i saved my allowance to be able to buy during book sales. i was that lost in love.
but as with all true loves, it tends to mellow, to mature, to be calmed, while staying buoyant and alive. there is still that feeling of warmth and comfort when i see a pile of books and an involuntary reaching out for nearby lovers to appreciate them more closely. for like a security blanket i feel at ease whenever i have one nearby. it serves as a reminder that there are worlds out there that i can explore. that i can go back to tsarist Russia, that i can sit in 221B Baker st in 19th century Britain, drink butterbeer while playing with my wand, chase murderers in the coast of England, and survive the games of the Capitol. it enables me to be me and to be more than me at the same time. that is the greatest of loves
anyway all i really want to say, amidst this dizzying rambling, is that i love books. i really do.