I read like a crazy person when I was little; my parents would yell at me to get outside and get some exercise. I tried to hide in my room in read, partially mortified by life (I was a teenager, after all) and partially just wanting to live in Laura Ingalls’ more romantic and beautiful world. I liked Anne of Green Gables too, because she had friends and an idyllic existence, and no one made her wear a school uniform. She was unapologetically herself. And it was enough.
I still read a lot. My friend at the library was surprised that within two days of moving I had stopped in and picked up my library card. I didn’t know what else to do. Books are a comfort, and I don’t sleep properly without them lining my room. They add peace to my apartment, and offer up another life to inhabit, at least for a little while. There’s nothing wrong with reading someone else’s words. There’s nothing wrong with learning about another realm. The problem starts when you try to create your own world to match a fantasy that does not and will not ever exist. That might be control, but it’s not living.
Recehty, the words I was reading and writing on a computer screen blurred and shook because of the earthquake that shook through my soul. It was 11:32 am and raining.
I knew at some point that I would be reading this page, but I didn’t want to. I like to know what’s going to happen, but this is the part of the story over which I used to skip. Or I’d pause to pick up a box of tissues because thinking about it made me cry. But I haven’t read past those paragraphs until now, and I have never really let that sentence sink in before because I have been too worried about its implications.
Then suddenly, one day, when I turned that page – the one I dreaded – I saw that the following one was blank. With a shaking hand, I picked up a pen, did not sit at a computer, and started to add next chapter myself. Fortunately, I found a slim, light and silver pen to use, but it could weigh a hundred pounds for the sheer effort it takes to guide it around the page. It’s a start, and a brave one at that.
I still want to skip to the end of this book, or at least I try to, but every time I flip the pages more and more are magically added, so that I can’t see what the back of the book’s jacket looks like. Through my tears, I try to understand the how and the why, and take comfort that I can change the pen I am using whenever I feel like it, and maybe one day I can start typing out the tale again.
Because now it is up to me.
“I didn’t need these things. I didn’t need them.”