(In which a turn of a page is a step closer to me.)
I just knew I found a good hobby when people started sending me text messages without the usual questions of what I am doing at the moment. Instead, they are armed with a good guess – I am reading. And my thoughts were just confirmed when my father eyed my secondhand books with wonder. He must have been thinking of how much I’ve been spending for those things that only made my tiny box of a room more crowded and added another layer of blackness to my already dark eye bags. Nevertheless, I just knew I am doing things right.
I have loved books ever since preschool. Running my fingers over the smooth cover of a good-smelling new book brought happiness beyond description. And finishing a book feels like gaining a new friend. However, most of the new books I was able to lay hands on are the ones given free in school. No matter how much my parents took delight in seeing me read, they hardly had enough cash to purchase children’s books so I had to settle with really old books with yellowish pages that were so crisp they might be torn when I flip them. Sometimes, there were torn or missing pages and I had to guess the words or invent my own ending for the story. I never consider them bitter experiences though. I wouldn’t have appreciated reading the way I do now if I could easily get the books I wanted by just pointing to them at the counter.
I started purchasing books about a couple of years after graduation and it felt great. Not only because I worked for it but also because I do not have any deadlines to meet and penalty to pay after returning it to the library late. After a book, I got another one. Then another. I do not care if it’s a bestseller or it’s crappy or brand new or secondhand. I just do whatever will assuage my thirst for reading as if I’m making up for the years I missed because of poverty. I do not mind if my sister thinks I have too much books on the shelf or my father thinks it’s a waste of time and money. I just knew that by reading, the childish happiness I felt so long ago was relived. And I find a part of me waking up after each novel; there’s an insatiable urge to read more after every story. There is a call for further understanding of literature. And a stronger desire to share what I learn through writing. Reading for me has become a regular journey through time and space and a thoughtful walk along the hidden alleys of my inner self. Perhaps it may lead to something closer to finding what I’ve been searching or just another search. But I knew I just have to keep on travelling.
There Is No Frigate Like a Book
There is no Frigate like a Book
To take us Lands away
Nor any Coursers like a Page
Of prancing Poetry –
This Traverse may the poorest take
Without oppress of Toll –
How frugal is the Chariot
That bears a Human soul.