Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The one that got away

Erm. It was here. Or maybe there. Or in that. But I’m sure I had it at least er, three years ago?

I’m packing, and I’ve just discovered that I’m missing a book. Since I have enough of the damn things to build a luxury outdoor privy and supply it with sufficient paper for a 5 year-long case of dysentery, you’d think I wouldn’t miss one itty-bitty book. But I am. Waaaaaahhhh! Where my book? I WANT MY BOOK!!!!

Several hours of searching through boxes have edged my thoughts with panic, and I'm now desperately trying to recall its book-life. I can remember telling several people how wonderful it is, how interesting it is, how it gives so much and makes life a better, richer thing. But I can’t remember lending it to anyone in particular. I can’t remember all the people to whom I might have recommended the book. I don’t think I’ve read it for a good three years myself, and I’ve moved a lot in this time. It could have fallen into an as-yet undocumented black hole. My bookcase is black. It had a black spine. Maybe it’s hiding? Maybe it’s camouflaged somehow? Maybe it doesn’t want to be read? Maybe it’s a reverse poltergeist?

This vague panic is horribly like a nightmare I had once. In it, I had a very pink baby, but since I couldn’t remember it existed* I kept forgetting it in different places. I left it in a café, on an escalator and on the pavement outside an old-fashioned row of shops in a navy blue padded picnic basket. I think I took the silverware with me, but left it with a tub of wrinkly dry black olives marinated in chilli, orange and garlic** for comfort.

Yes, I could buy another copy. Probably a more up-to-date, shiny new edition with an uncracked spine, no dog-eared pages, a new book smell and brand new foreword. Or I could pick up a cheap second-hand copy somewhere. But it won’t be the same book. I’ve had this one for years. I can remember where I first bought it, where I first read it. It’s part of my life. So any replacement will always remind me of the one that I lost.

I’m a terrible book mother.

*Or how it came into my possession. Not birth, not doorstep arrival. No clue. It was the most secret of secret babies. Even I was only dimly aware of its existence.

**Hey, don’t knock 'em ‘til you’ve tried 'em. They’re like little exploding bombs of flavour. And at least they don’t have sharp edges. What do you take me for?


Anonymous said...

Excellent blog...!

Candy said...


I am more excited than I should be.