We all have them. Bad days: times when something happens that knocks you sideways, and stops you from being able to smile. I’ve read somewhere that without bad days, you’d never fully appreciate the good days, so there’s always a silver lining.
The first thing I do when I’m feeling a little less cheery is reach for my favorite book. You know the type of book that feels like a friend? One you’ve read a million times, and will read over again because it’s almost as comforting as a deep and meaningful with your best friend. Sometimes more comforting, because you don’t have to spill your secrets, or worry about being upset. You can just grab your book, go soak in the tub, and let your troubles float away, while your fictional friends entertain you.
My go-to book at the moment is The Fault In Our Stars by John Green. I know what you’re thinking. A story about two teens with cancer isn’t exactly uplifting, but it is. Of course it is.
There’s so many sentences in that book that make me pause, and wonder at the sheer perfection of his writing.
I don’t think I’ll ever tire of it. And Hazel and Augustus feel like friends.
Bad days come and go, but the love of a good book can make almost anything better.
Do you have a go-to book?
Today a package arrived. A box; small, square and wrapped in butcher paper. There was no return address. My name was written in elegant cursive on the front, in what looked to be ink from a calligraphy pen.
The package rustled a little in my hand. It murmured. I blinked twice in the dim light of the bookshop. It shook this time, as if urging me to rip the plain paper off to see what treasure lay beneath.
Once more, I scrutinized the package to try to discern who’d sent it. Maybe there was a note inside?
I walked with quick steps to the back of the bookshop, where the soft afternoon sunlight streamed in, and sat on the chaise.
The butcher paper made a satisfying ‘chhhh‘ as strips fell from my hands to the floor.
The title of the book gleamed, all at once old, but oh so new in my hands. THE BOOK WITHOUT SOUND. A small vibration went from the cover to my fingertips as I gently pried it open. It was inscribed: “She loved this book, and I wanted you to have it. Soon, I will join my glorious Gloria, and our life will be a symphony once more. As ever, Gerald from Chicago.”
I closed the book and wept. For them, for me, for a world without Gloria and Gerald, and all the bookshops that they’d never step into. But then I smiled. As I imagined them together again. And who knows, maybe one day I’d feel a whisper of a breeze on my neck, and know it was them.
I ran my hand lovingly over the cover of The Book Without Sound, and felt the gentle hum of appreciation. There was only one thing for it. I settled back on the chaise, and began to read.