The Book Lover

The book wasn’t here yesterday. Amelia doesn’t know where it came from. It’s heavier than it looks and its frayed edges feel rough as her hands tremble and tease open the cover. The scent of oil and dust intoxicates as she runs her fingers across the page to meet a handwritten inscription that says, ‘For the lovers.’

Amelia turns the pages. Fear sinks into unexpected disappointment as she finds them blank. Then, as she begins to close the cover, one word appears, ‘Once’, followed by another, ‘upon’. And soon the page is flooded with black ink scrawls. Amelia is afraid to read them, uncertain what they will bring. But her mind pursues her eyes as she surrenders and immerses herself to the magical words; to the sound of words as they form and fade, like standing on the shore, her ears anticipating the progression of the sea — sometimes urgent, sometimes hushed — before her eyes can recognise the waves.

After several chapters, Amelia has already escaped to some happier place — a rose garden where the sun shines kindly, a gentle breeze carries the smell of wild strawberries, pebbles crackle beneath her feet as she moves past the cherub fountain towards the manor house. This is what love feels like and it was no longer frightening.

And as Amelia reads on, running towards the house past the laurel trees, she feels she has known each syllable already. She runs her fingers across the wrought iron gates in perfect synchronicity between words and senses, treasuring each rusted crack and blemish as they simultaneously appear as phrases and metal.

But, as she opens the heavy doors and steps from sunlight into shadow, a realisation settles like a leaf falling on autumnal ground, that, like all things, the book must end. That with the turning of each page, things will no longer be the same; with each passing word the roses will wilt, the sun will burn less kindly, the fountain will run drier, and the breeze will be less sweet  — another word loved is another word closer to the end.

Amelia reads as she walks through the hallway, the stone floor feels cold and dusty beneath her feet. Words create light, red shadows flicker as she reads and stares at her reflection in the mirror, noting how she has aged around the eyes.

Her heart quivers with love that belongs to her unwritten lover. The book has told her he will arrive. But the words have stopped forming and she doesn’t know when.

Evening descends on the rose garden, rats scurry around the fountain, and inside the candles burn lower as a spider trails across the mirror. Amelia sits with the book on her lap waiting for new words as she rereads all that has been written in the remaining light, so she may remember this feeling of wanting and being wanted, of the anticipation of fulfilment in a world of beauty, of holding something that desires to be held where words are unspoken yet understood — for the book tells her that this is love and it should be a most wonderful feeling.

© 2017 Occasional Dreams
In response to daily prompt: Immerse
Image: I Love Books (II) by thomas.leuther / CC BY

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15 thoughts on “The Book Lover

  1. OH! Love this post! I just followed you! Would love to connect with you! I’m Chy from Her Lost Mango! Nice to meet you! I just posted my Switzerland and Amsterdam trip! Paris, Italy and London is going to be up too! Some of my Europe trip is up now! I just posted too my favorite fashion pieces too. Hope to hear from you! XOXO lovelots! – Chy http://herlostmango.com

    Liked by 1 person

  2. hauntingly beautiful story reminding of all the sad lonely people who never get the courage to go out and seek real love and life real life, but hide among the pages and the stories and one day wake up to see their eyes red rimmed from just sitting in the dark reading. Don’t think I have been more moved by a story like this before. Maybe mostly because it comes too close to home. But mainly because you write from a part deep inside your psyche and the words make themselves know , you don’t try or coax they just come to you. A very spiritual and soul writer we long to be just like this. I see her writing her life in the book, from the moment the book appeared she cut herself off from the rest of the world, the book was her world and she lived and played and danced and loved in it. But pages run to an end, just like the book of life it does not have unending pages to write upon, a time came for her to see that the words stopped. and the one she was waiting for had arrived, i saw it she arriving into her own understanding and also maybe for a glimmer of hope I always have true love does exist and they found each other. I loved this very much. Sorry I wrote too much! Thank you for writing this. I could read it over and see other new and marvelous hidden gems.

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    1. Thank you for your comments, Gina. I always look forward to them. Don’t apologise for writing too much! And yes this one came fairly easily. Although I did have a slightly different idea. Besides being a dedication to the magic of reading and books, the book was a symbol of opportunities. It arrived suddenly, carried her along like a wave, she is swept up its moments, transported to new places, and then things falter, opportunities become less enticing, words don’t come easily anymore (like when a person becomes depressed). The world doesn’t seem the same, we come to terms with disappointment and try to remember what we had, in what light remains.

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      1. I could have gone with the your idea but deliberately wanted to take another view on it, knowing you now and your work I wanted to bring some light to you, you are a very talented writer and most beautiful soul, it sparkles even though you can’t see it. we both experience these waves in life and are sometimes so buoyed by it we cannot come back down to a normal pace and things start to be less colouful or even taste bland. So I came to offer you sweet orange hues that your can be inspired with again, and this story had the optimism just under the surface, asking to be set free. Allow the wave to take you high but enjoy the return to regular and see the beauty in the ordinary, for you are the light, don’t need more, never have ever less around you. this is my favourite story!

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      2. You always add more dimensions and light to the things you read. And I always have hope at the back of my mind, I just find it more interesting to end the stories before dawn, and let readers decide what the new morning will bring. Thank you for your insights as always, Gina.

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