Writing prompt : Write about the book she read until it fell apart
Riding the train to work everyday gives one lots of opportunities to observe people. I started watching one lady in particular – every day she’d sit down and pull out a small book. There were gold letters etched in the front but I was never close enough to read what it said. But every day she’d read until her stop. Diablo St. She’d sigh and slip a bit of ribbon between the pages, still clutching the book as she disappeared into the crowd on the platform.
The first day I saw her, the book was shiny and new. That’s about how I’d describe her too, come to think of it. She had a presence about her that gave off a warm glow, and the peace in her face drew me. More than once I thought about approaching her, but I feared scaring such a one as she. And so, I watched as the years sped by. Day by day we’d ride the same train, and day by day I’d watch her faithfully read her little book. I didn’t notice the changes in her and the book as life caught me up in its wandering, demanding way. Until one morning when I really looked at her, as I hadn’t in years.
The peace on her face was buried beneath wrinkles and worries. The welcoming glow barely burned for anyone to see. She seemed tattered and worn and I my heart ached. But then she pulled out her book.
As she’d done dozens of times. But this time, i noticed it.
It was old. Tattered. Worn. Creased.
“What happened to your book?” I was shocked to hear the words fly from my lips. Her head slowly lifted until her eyes met mine. She gave me a quizzical look and I leaned forward in my seat , “It’s tattered and worn. Look, it’s about to fall apart. Can’t you get a new one?”
The smile she gave me made me feel less like a fool that I was being and more like a kind benefactor. “There isn’t another one of these in all the world.”
I sighed in frustration, watching her slender fingers caress the book’s cover. And it seemed to me in that moment, that nothing else in the world mattered but that book. “Put it away then. It’ll get hurt.”
“You have watched me read this book for years. Why do you now care about it? Her question was asked so gently that I chided myself for not caring earlier. Her eyes pulled me in in a way that I’d never felt before. I shrugged helplessly, not knowing what to say, or even if I’d be able to say it. It was like she’d gotten inside my brain, rendering me speechless. “You are the first person to care. Did you know that? No one else has talked to me these many years. But you, you watched and today you cared. Thank you. “
And then I watched her slip the bit of ribbon between the pages. She closed the book reverently and slowly offer it to me.
Touching that small book changed my life in a way I cannot explain. Something that had strove to be richer, smarter, faster finally broke and I cared nothing for those things. As I cradled it in my hands, I felt tears slide down my cheeks.
“Thank you. I will treasure it always.” I felt a small pressure on my shoulder and then she was gone.
I opened the worn cover to the front page. Read the title and then reverently read it again. Before I knew it, I’d missed my stop but I didn’t quit reading. I found that the words had life. Meaning. Purpose. And I found that the more I read, the more I yearned to read. Eventually, I closed the book and rubbed my thumb over the worn cover. Unexpectedly, tears began to course down my cheeks once again. I tried to catch them before they further injured the book but one splashed on the torn corner. When I moved to rub it away, the corner was repaired. In surprise, I saw the book looked as good as new once again. The creases were gone. The binding was sturdy once again. I laughed delightedly and hugged it to my chest.
“Thank you. I will treasure it always.”
~Now, before you ask me what the book is, let me tell you right now. I don’t rightly know. That’s the funny thing about these word prompts, the words just come and even if I don’t understand quite what it is, I write it. Also, I don’t edit these overly much. Probably a mistake, I know. But I love just writing quick prompts to get my brain going and not worrying about editing. I’m doing enough of that on my novel!! I hope you enjoyed this and that it gave you something to smile, and possibly think, about for today.
Happy Friday and stay safe in this crazy weather!