Thursday, August 29, 2013

Letters to a Book-lover, 29 August, 2013


Dear Book-lover,

I have remained inactive for over forty-eight hours now. I behave either like a vegetable- a curly lady-finger, if you may- sleeping and letting my thoughts flow into my pillow, or like a zombie- walking around with a frozen smile on my face, feeding myself or taking a shower.

I was lying in bed just now, hair on face. The smell of last night's shampoo was half-way out. There was an unnatural silence. Surely, there had to be some background noise in a large, crowded ladies' hostel? But I told myself that I must not bother, and I must go back to sleep. I was just not ready to be awake. It was my time to rest.

But no matter how much I tried to sleep, I would wake up and look at my clock, only to find that I had passed about 6 or 7 minutes in REM slumber. Semi-dreams floated past my eyes, punctuated by a hunger beyond the hours of breakfast. And then something inside me panicked. I sat up, heart-quickening. I could almost tell what I needed to escape my state of mournful slumber but it seemed to be just beyond my reach.

My gut lurched with anxiety. This time, I did not want to drown the over-whelming feeling of stress with another "quick nap". This was good stress. It was a happy kind of urge... And when I closed my eyes, I could remember the smells and sounds and pictures.

We are walking down an aisle of book-shelves. The over-tall tower of books seem to converge at the head like an arch above us. I can hear the whisper of the pages. Our noses curve upward, following the scent of an exotic promise... The scent of an old book, yellow with olden gold. I know which one it is but I cannot reach it high up there. 

I look up at you with longing in my eyes. I feel so little next to you that it looks to me that you may be as tall as those beloved book-shelves. Our eyes meet and yours crinkle with knowing. 
Your hand leaves mine, and I feel a temporary vacuum. A breeze of temptation occupies it a second later. I can see your veined fore-arm reaching for that cracked spine. 

I don't know for how long we held that book in our hands. But I am now cradling it in my arms. I shall read it again. This time, I cannot tell you how the pages bleed and under which dog-ear I left my heart.
This time, you are not here. Only your affricate name leaves my lips.

Your laterally approximated,