New. No rips. No tears. No dog-eared pages.
Top shelf. I longed to be the first one, the book in front of the others of my kind, but I had been placed near the back. It seemed I wasn’t destined to leave the store. I would be stuck on this shelf forever. Waiting, longing to be brought home, to have my pages turned.
And then Christmastime rolled around. 1998. Decorations had been set up throughout the store. The books in front of me had been chosen and I, along with the others of my kind that remained, had been moved to a discount section. It was near the front of the store. There was hope.
Everyone glanced at me as they walked by, but not a single person ever picked me up. No one was curious enough about my contents, perhaps I wasn’t interesting enough for them. The hope was lost rather quickly.
Then she came along.
She was young-looking with long, black hair and kind, brown eyes. She was the first person, aside from the workers, who paid me any mind. For a while she scanned through my pages and before I knew it, she was carrying me out of the store in a plastic bag. I was going home. Someone would finally read all the content that filled my pages. I would finally belong to someone.
As it turned out, I was to be a gift for someone she loved. Wayne; that was the name of the man I would be given to and the name of my raven-haired savior was Claire. I figured it out by the inscription she scribbled on my inside cover:
Wayne, Dec. 1998
Merry X-Mas Darling!
I love you so much. I’m so
happy we are together and
nothing’s going to change that.
What I had hoped would be a long, happy life with them turned out to be no more than a short, heartbreaking one. Their love was so true and I’ve no doubt that nothing would have ever changed how much they cared for one another, but they didn’t pull through the accident like I had hoped they would.
The day it happened, we had been moving to a new house across town. It was to be a fresh start to their flourishing love story. And then everything changed when the other car slammed into us. Everyone had hopes they would pull through and they didn’t. It wasn’t long after that I was packed into another box with the other books they had owned. We were taped shut and lugged away. I didn’t know where we going. I just knew that nothing would be the same.
When the box was opened, we were greeted by an unfamiliar face. A little man pulled us out one-by-one. This wasn’t like the other store I had been in. The books around me were in a similar condition as me.
We weren’t pristine. We had dog-eared pages. We had worn covers, some more so than others. Some of our pages were slightly torn, but we were still readable and we still clung to the hope that one day we’d find a new home.
It was years later that my savior finally came and this time it was in the form of a man.