A Bookish Woman

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
A woman, visits her long time friends sitting on her bookshelves.

Submitted: March 27, 2017

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Submitted: March 27, 2017

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A Bookish Woman

The elderly lady with the shawl hobbled through the room that she once remembered dancing across. Carried along then by a fit of cleaning and the first spring breeze.  She had a different purpose now.  Then her feet were carried forward by a young lover her heart keeping time with her youth.

Now though as she slowly hobbled with her cane, her third leg guiding her steps, she went slower, steadier with a single purpose.  Only to visit, to spend time with an old friend.  The bookshelf was her goal, it was full of old friends, who too once were new.  Fresh pages first turned in anticipation and earnest now were turned in commitment and longing, books full of memories.  Pages full of black and white photographs in her memory.

For where many her age had albums, for her it had always been books which held her past.  Each one linked irrevocably to some special place, some irreplaceable time, holding ghosts of people now gone, brought alive again in her heart with each turn of the page.

As she reached the shelf and ran her hands over the spine of each and every book,  she smiled, thinking  her old friends spines had held up much better than her own.  Straighter, firmer, still quite serviceable.  If only she could age as well as these.

The particular companion she sought on this day was one of her oldest friends.  A book, which had been there at the beginning of her journey with the written word.  She spotted it on the third shelf, picking it up with a smile.  The Little Tin Soldier, with 3-D type pictures no less.  How many times had her hands held these pages as a young child, horrified at the fate of the little soldier, thrilled with the love he had.

She lovingly took the book back with her to her favorite rocking chair, a solid wooden time machine to the past.  She lived in a room of her relics, pieces of her past, their importance known only to her, their memories locked away like a secret that only she held the key to.

As she got comfortable and began to read, the people returned, her people.  Once again in her mind, she was very young, asking her Mother and Gram to read the story again and again.  Their voices, now only a whisper, heard only by her, responded in a chuckle, ”this book again?”  She would soon settle in though, in this same rocker, cherishing every word, every minute of their time together.

As the words marched on in front of the old lady, so did the images in her life.  The memories fading from the adults who had loved her to the children she had loved.  These days of course, much too busy to visit her, but then, they were the people her world had centered around.  She had read them all sorts and varieties of books, anything that peaked their interest.  This book though was special.  She smiled every time they climbed into her lap with this book.  And every time, she retold the story of how she had almost worn the book, and her family’s patience out, with this one tale.

They were both here in this place, alone together, she and the book. Both she and this written word. Both  in their old age, still visiting, keeping each one another company, like old friends do, enjoying the past and treasuring the present together, as always unsure about the future.  The woman began to rock, falling asleep as she did so. The book slipped silently to the floor as the women slipped silently away, each of them holding a story of their own.


© Copyright 2017 Carla Charter. All rights reserved.

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