I didn’t feel like myself today, a little disconnected, a lot lonely. It could have been the Viola alarm that went off at 3:45am, or that I didn’t make it to the gym or the whole bag of Starbursts I had eaten by the time the sun came up. At nine, Margaret and I were eating a breakfast of left over chicken nuggets in front of the The Price is Right . It seemed unlikely that the day would get much better. The sirens went off as someone won a BRAND NEW CAR and I knew I had a choice. It could be a Blues Clues marathon kind of day or it could be the do something kind of day. Last week, Margaret memorized the WHAT IS BLUES FAVORITE NUMBER?? episode. Time to change things up.
To the library we went.
Our city library is a simple little thing. Some would call its’ collection of books sparse, I call it well edited. It is certainly grand enough for the Three Girls Bingham. Margaret loves visiting the children's section. And as long as she has her bottle, Viola seems pretty fond of it, too. I left the house but not my discontent. It went to the library with us. As we walked the aisles of books I tried to keep my smile on and my voice light. Megan, Remember you are happy. Remember that women everywhere wish they could be well fed, well loved and at a warm library with their babies. And Margaret and I picked out books (hers tended toward the sparkled pink variety) and Viola cooed and I still felt alone.
We went over and swam through the Tolstoy's and Melville's and Woolf's. Usually, I love getting my fingers pruney, soaking in the words they found and wrote. But today I picked them up and put them back. I couldn’t feel a thing through their covers. Wound our way through the shelves, passed books I had never heard of and books I knew better than the inside of Riley’s hand. And while I tried to remember to be happy, I also remembered reading as a girl.
A knock on my door,
“Megan, it is one in the morning. Time to go to sleep.”
“Just one more chapter, Dad. I promise.”
“Alright. Just one more.”
I could feel myself there. All tangled blankets, frizzy hair and whatever new world I held in my hand.
So, I had the girls follow me to the books from my past. Elizabeth Peters. Jane Austen. Laurie R. King. Ray Bradbury. Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell. Some literature...some not. Stories that I gobbled up in the years that I used to grow up. I didn’t always have many friends, or the boy I wanted or a sense of who I was. But every night I had my little room and my blankets and one more chapter.
I gathered so many books the girls and I had to make two trips. Now they are spread out around me. Pages softened by use, covers a little smudged, spines cracked. Just waiting.
I don’t feel lonely anymore.