t’s yellow, life. Like pages from an old, old book. A novel. Written by an obscure one-time writer. Lying at the absolute bottom of the shelf in a dusty attic behind trunks filled with lots of nothing and bits of everything. The pages haven’t been turned often. But you know it is a good book, by the care with which you hold it. The print is very fine, almost hard to read. You have to squint to see it well. But the words are interesting – if you have the patience. There is a lot of unnecessary detail. Just like life. You have to go through the mundane, to find the interesting. If you’re lucky. But its tiring, to wait for that one little bit that may or may not come. Would you close the book, then? Would you choose to end the story halfway? Or would you trudge through the inane monotony in 360 pages, just so you might have 5 pages of unadulterated fun?
I stand at the threshold. Inside is comfort. Comfort of knowledge, of companionship, of togetherness. But also fear. Of disappointment. Outside is challenge. Challenge of action, of difference, of novelty. But also loneliness. I look back into the room, the novel lying half-read on the cabinet. I have a strong urge to go pick it up again, but something holds me back. I wonder what. I try to ignore it. I look the other way, think of maybe stepping out for a bit. But the same something nags me. Will the door be closed when I come back?
I sit down, right there. One leg inside, the other out, elbows on knees, hands on chin. I see my reflection on the metal doorknob. My nose looks bigger than usual, eyes like slits. I tilt my head to the side, grin widely, make a sad face. I giggle. I lean back, rest my head on the door-frame. I am amused. At myself. At the human ability to distract from troubling things by focussing on the most random and the least interesting. I still see the book from the corner of my eyes. I shut them tight. Then peek out of one slowly, as though to check if it is still there. It hasn’t moved, yet. But its too far. And too aloof. Almost, uncaring. I look away. A book should make you want to read it. No?
I think of coffee shops unvisited, movies unseen, shows unwatched, plans unplanned.
I have time for all those now. But there is the book, unread. Does the book have time for me?