Finishing a book is more bitter than it is sweet. Especially when it’s a book that you only get to read once, a book that when picked up again is never the same. The feeling isn’t there, and there’s dust on the paintings. There are some books that can be revisited, though. And instead of finding dust, you find the paintings with more detail than before, brighter and more alive. These books are very rare, I only know of 3.
I spent a lot of time at my grandparent’s house growing up – where I was afforded a lot of free time. I’m a natural loner, so that time was spent in solitude. By 11 I had my own bike and I was a nearly permanent resident of the library at the end of the street.
There was a small teen section situated near the front. The only thing that said “Teen” about it were the red and yellow bean bags, and candy colored spines of young adult literature. But it was comfortable and usually empty, and it became something like my solitary summer clubhouse. The summer I turned 12 my grandfather took me to get my very own library card, meaning I could use the computers and take the books home with me. Before then I had simply read as far as I could and bookmarked it before placing it back in its place, hoping no one came along to check it out. Usually they didn’t, sometimes they did.
Books remained a huge part of my life from there on out. That library, over the course of 6 or better school vacations, heavily shaped the person I became. I experienced so many emotions for the first time inside those walls, with those books and the people that coursed around me unlocking them. I dreamed and imagined, learned and experienced loss. I discovered comic books and Isaac Asimov, I felt the sadness of Hemingway and the light of Ray Bradbury.
After coming back to Michigan I went to find the library vacant and alone, with plywood pressed against its windows and the book return slot taped shut, a poorly bandaged wound. It was closed after the construction of a new, gaudy multimillion dollar library a mile or so away. All good things must come to end, and some endings are particularly bitter – especially when you can never open the book again.