Dusty Old Bookshelf

As I looked at the book one last time, I could not help but think that this sole object was the only remaining thing that linked me to him. For three years it occupied a space in my dusty old bookshelf, reminding me that if he ever asked for his book back, that I had one last chance to tell him how I truly felt about him. He was the first boy, now man, to show me sensuality and to feed me the forbidden fruit of desire. The unanticipated day arrived. I received a message from him making small talk, when in all sincerity he just wanted to ask for his book back and not really make conversation of any sort. I hesitated to reply, only because I was trying to delay the fact that this book was my only chance to talk to him again. I tossed and turned in my bed that night re-playing in my mind how I ended up with his book. Then like a wave, it all came to me. I remembered it clearly. It was three years ago that we had started talking over the phone, discovering that we had a lot more in common than what we had initially thought. Me being from Chile, I was going through my poetry phase and was obsessed with Pablo Neruda. To my surprise, he loved Poem 20 which was the most depressing of all but he knew by heart. Before you knew it, we formed a friendship by exchanging daily quotes over text messages and with time I was enamored with the fact that he was so intellectual and fantasized about the day he would kiss me. I was never much of a reader until I met him. One night he asked me to hang out at his place, but since I didn’t drive, I dragged my best friend along so she could take me. We went to his place to watch a movie but truthfully I was such a nervous wreck that I cannot recollect the movie we watched or any conversations we might have had. All I can remember is him trying to impress me with his books and me taking Dostoyevsky’s Brothers Karamazov and never giving it back until today.  But since we are talking about my life here, I never seem to get the result I’m looking for. By that I mean: I ended up handing the book to his brother. You see, there are times in life where we wish we could take it all back, erase the board and perhaps relive a scene of our lives. He wishes he could. Because of unexplained reasons he is now miles away from here, perhaps reading a book or writing a story. Case in point, this book I desperately held on to for years is now but a pigment of our time together. Anytime I walk into a book store and browse the classics section, I always see the Brothers Karamazov book and it immediately takes me back to those nights with him.

I was immensely vulnerable, frail and completely submissive to all the emotions he made me feel.

At that time in my life, I had never felt like this towards anyone. I was committing sin at its finest, betraying my morals and being someone I never thought I could be.

No I didn’t love him. My feelings never veered that direction with him. To me, it was all strictly desire and the physical temptations he made me feel. I do think about him when I read a book and what he would think about it. I make mental notes of how I would explain to him my favorite quotes and anxiously wait for his reply. He is now in a foreign country doing what he always did best: conquering the women and reminiscing on his adventures and escapades as a young adult. He is a poet by day and conquistador by night; shamelessly spreading his seeds wherever he might end up next. Although it might sound bitter from my behalf, I hold no grudges for whatever that did or did not happen between us.

It is because of you that I do what I do; I write and read because of you. It is because of you that I learned to read between the lines of Neruda’s poetry. It is because of you that I discovered Garcia Marquez’s long elaborate and beautifully- depicted stories. It is because of you that I learned to appreciate literature. Although I never said it in person, thank you.

“You don’t write because you want to say something, you write because you have something to say” –F. Scott Fitzgerald.


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