When Someone Gives You a Book

a67de42da89c75e22e18520f7706ebebSomething is up, and I can’t quite put my finger on it. It might be the fact that my plants have been alive for a whole month. Or that my new haircut makes my head look like a flying saucer. Or that I battled Word Processor 2010 today at work, and lost. Or it might just be the very small pile of books on my desk. Or the fact that it’s been growing.

Yes, I think it is this latest, however admittedly unfortunate it’s predecessors may be.

You see, in the last few months, people have been gifting me books. Gifting is maybe the wrong term here. It’s more like they do a quick drive by my office, and mutter something like, “I see you have the same problems as me, and this book really helped.” And then wham, bam, thank you ma’am, I’ve just adopted a few hundred pages.

At first I was amused. I say this because every morning, my alarm clock goes off, I sleep for 20 extra minutes, I wake up again in a very seizure-like fashion 10 minutes before I need to be at the hospital, throw on the nearest set of scrubs, and apply a grossly minimum amount of makeup in the car (mostly so I don’t look as dead as I feel). All this, only to stroll leisurely to the coffee machine (as if I’ve been up for hours and just need a top off), and shot gun three cups in a row. If only they would give me a hose.

So back to my amusement. If someone is giving me an advice book, it means they have accurately assessed the mess that is myself and the general shit storm that is my life. And it reminds me that I’m not fooling anybody.

Thus landed the first book in my pile.

Thus landed the second.

But the third, like all good things in life, was different.

The third was neatly packaged in red wrapping paper with a ribbon over the top. It was addressed, “To Risa, From Sierra,” and in it was your average paperback fiction book. But this book was anything but average.

Inside the cover, I read, “This was Allison’s favorite book. I thought you might enjoy reading it and carrying a piece of her with you.”

And just like that, my little pile of books became a treasure. Because if there is anything I want most in this world, it is to selfishly have some piece of Allison to hold close to my heart, so I can continue telling myself that she’s not actually gone.

And so today, when the sweet lady down the hall brought over a book for me, I watched as she carried it in held tightly to her chest, and gently sat it down in front of me. And I listened while she explained how it came to be. And I heard the echos of her past triumphs and despairs. And I felt the small sliver of her soul that came from resonating with this book lodge itself deep within my own.

You see, when someone gives you a book, it is as if they are saying, “I found myself within this, and I want to share myself with you.” As if they are giving you a map of their heart, saying, “RIght here! Right here where these big red X’s are – that’s where it hurts the very most!” As if they find in you a kindred spirit.
So when someone gives you a book, and your pile is toppling over, and you cringe at the reminder of your own mess – just remember that our souls are worth nothing, if they are not shared.

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