I admit it. I buy used books. Sometimes they are out of print, so I have to. Sometimes it’s just too good of a deal to pass up. Often they contain notes and highlights, remnants of those who came and read before me. Some of them (curse them!) have covered entire pages in neon-colored highlighter, and some underline entire paragraphs with pens in squiggly, uneven lines. The more sensible of them use pencils. They write with a light touch in the margins, as if not to disturb the words on the page.
Then there are people like Barbara, who stake their claim on their book by writing their name in big, bold letters on the first page. They underline, cross out, draw lines up and down, and all around the paragraphs. Barbara also had a bad habit of writing out her every thought in the margins. For example, next to sentences that she thought funny, she wrote funny. Thank you, Barbara; I might have missed it. But then there was this note: I’ve always wondered about eating yourself. Would you be getting fat, or would you disappear?
I can’t help but wonder if she ever found an answer to her question. I wonder if it kept her awake at night. Did she think about it while doing dishes or drinking coffee? While violating another book? While she was making love to her partner? Or her secret lover?
I wonder how she is doing.
I might never get an answer to that.
Copyright 2021 Sven Camrath