Read and the world reads with you

Aside

I went to the library today.  I’m ashamed to say I can’t believe how long it’s been since I was last there, but I shall certainly be back.

The building is light, words buzz just out of hearing.  People study the shelves with interest, confusion, excitement.  Fingers reach, hesitate, reach again.  Covers are scrutinised, sleeves skimmed, first pages begun.

Suddenly, a memory floods back to me.  Mum is producing the book bag when I get home from school.  She’s been to the library.  She’s chosen books for me.  At this moment, anything is possible.  I could be a princess, a pirate, a hero, a villain.  I could learn, explore, discover, I could laugh, cry, grow.  With each book comes a wealth of words, experiences, challenges and joys and book by book the possibilities wind around each other, freeing my mind and opening doors I didn’t even know where closed.  Long after the book returns to the shelf the stories stay with me.  There’s a bond between me and everyone else who’s read this book now, especially those who held this exact copy.  We’ve been on this adventure together, we’ve held our breath, clutched the pages so they wrinkle, become so engrossed we’ve accidentally squashed the remains of a chocolate biscuit between the pages.  We’ve held it under the covers and tuned out the world around us, we’ve saved the world together and we’ve never even met.

The library welcomes us all.  It doesn’t care if we are rich or poor, it doesn’t judge us and it doesn’t want anything from us but our presence.  The library will teach us, comfort us, entertain us and guide us.  We can experiment and ask, share and engage.  We can download a book, sing with our children and meet with our heroes.  And all for free.  Like the books themselves, I think that’s worth holding on to.

You’ve got to know where you’ve come from…

It’s been a bit of a mad house ’round here lately.  Perhaps it would be more accurate to say ‘mad houses’…

There was a setback a month or so ago with the loss of a beautiful, furry little friend.  She was a very old rat and, after hanging on in there for a good month longer than her sister, she finally let go.  My heart was broken.  For now it’s tacked back together, with tiny paw-prints etched on it forever.

Since then, moving has begun in earnest.  It hasn’t been easy.  Shipping a life in different directions takes a certain amount of attitude adjustment; what do I physically need? what can be easily replaced? what can’t I live without?  Each object is considered in turn – from the pots and pans in the cupboard to Jeremy Bear, who, if he were a person, would be drawing his pension.

Unpacking at the in-laws poses challenges of its own.  It’s not easy to fit a two-bed house into one room and two attics.  Things are going to stay in boxes for a while, which may help when it comes to shipping them to the USA.  Of course, it may not and there could come a time when the contents are strewn across the floor as further decisions are made about their future.

At the same time, wedding preparations have continued at a fair pace.  Checklists are being checked off, purchases are being made, threats are being made and sanity is being questioned.  According to The Boy, ‘it’ll all be fine’.

The dates draw nearer, decision making scenarios are more frequent and conclusions are reached with by bouncing back and forth between brash confidence and resigned uncertainty, with minds being changed at least once a day.

It’s reassuring to know, then, that in all of the madness, one decision has been made and the answer is certain: Jeremy is coming with me.