He asks me why I keep my ex partners on a shelf, old and tattered bindings with the title text wearing off.
"I keep these books to remember how to feel" I say, with a deep sureness.
But it's more than that.
These books are my life anthology. Though the published stories never change, each have changed me.
"From every lover to every lost friendship, fatal attractions and bonds never meant to be." I sigh, "every single word triggers a revelation. That kind if knowledge is invaluable."
He does not get it. He never kept a library before. Instead, he slings a backpack over his left shoulder and carries what few things he says will fit and are worth taking on the hike.
Yet like clock work, every night as we lay in bed shifting sides and trying hard to get comfortable, he groans in pain with one strong hand trying to reach back and soothe the pain of a spot he cannot pinpoint.
And I drift through different platforms I cross in my mind, trying to explore the new territories I come to find. And process what I will need in order to re-become.
"I am an open book, my darling. What I know, I know. If you read these, you can know names and stories and places. But interpretation is subjective" My eyes trailed off from his face to the many shelves and sections....
"These stories are all labeled, if you look closely, not chronologically but in order of recollection and impact."
"Hmm. So I must be first", he spoke smugly, as he reached out for the nearest book to his stiffened, unmaluable stance with that same tightened shoulder causing a hunch.
"Oh you are scattered, my sweet, through all different volumes. You take up many pages." I smile, one eyebrow cocked.
"I do not want to read about me. I want to know about them." He fingered through each book rapidly, as if looking for specific passages.
I left him alone to it while I sat down in my chair, sliding back against the violet velvet with a familiar settling feeling.
He looked perplexed, and then gave up as he put another book up on the shelf with a careless thrust.
"Hmm.. most of these are filled with random stories, some with no end. I see you have not finished them all" he said with a frown.
"No...those stories were not meant to be finished. The richness of the story are the words left untold."
"What about this book? It's newer than the rest, have you yet to read it?" He lifts one eyebrow, pointing at the new purple hard cover with gold leaf trimming down the side and embossed within the name.
"That one I have yet to open" I smile slightly and glare at the lowest shelf, closest to my seat.
"Perhaps tomorrow I will" as I said, one single tear escaping my eye, rolling down in relief.
--------------- ♡ JS
Published by Jean Soto JS Jaded Savior blog: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jean Soto, mother of 3 and wife, is a writer + artist in the Hudson Valley, NY community.
Content mention of Rape, Abuse, Neglect, Addictions, Mental Illness, Kidnap, Molestation, Child abuse, Teen Pregnancy, Abortion, birth, body image, gender/identity dysphoria, sexuality, personal trauma, domestic violence and other extremely personal stories. Please practice caution. I am not a licensed physician or mental health professional. No medical prescribing is provided on this site, Only personal insights, experience stories, and advice; All stories published have had prior authorization. Questions? Contact Jean at: email@example.com
EMPOWERING MINDS SINCE 2019