Enter Stage Left

A dim beam of light slowly creeps towards my arm as if the sky is extending an appendage to ask for my attention. Momentarily distracted from my simultaneous book-reading and twitter-checking, my eyes follow the beam and fix on the dull blue of the sky as I wonder why I made the decision to become a part of the online book community. Sure, I love books, literature and the beautiful worlds you can travel to with the turn of a page. But, I am sure there is more to it. I am in no way an aspiring book reviewer looking to be rewarded for my efforts.

My eyes move to a family that are depositing their shopping loot in a car – the youngest member has spotted me and is looking at me with a disconcerting confidence. My mind goes back to the stark feeling of emptiness that has possessed me for the entirety of my adult years. An emptiness and despondency that stems – despite my abundant privilege – from the absence of intellectual stimulation, from being beaten down by the system, for being approached with foreboding and lastly for being demonised for simply living out my beliefs – beliefs that I have spent a good chunk of my coherent life forming.

I shift uncomfortably in my seat, unwittingly brushing the croissant crumbs onto my lap. Looking around I fleetingly recall the transition I made as an adult from reading for comfort to reading for answers. Chastised for others’ inability to fit me within their limited periphery of what I “must surely” conform to, I sought books, articles, little slices of information to understand the rigmarole that is my life, to find an answer to my anguish. Looking down at my empty tea-cup, I search my mind for if the answer ever came. Shuffling through the pages of memory, I look back up at the family. The little blond girl is still looking at me. This time I grin and wave – she hides behind her mother.

I realise now why I started this journey. I got no answer, but what I got instead was a quelling of anger with an understanding of the human condition. “All the world’s a stage,” says Shakespeare and I’m playing my part with the tools that my life-long affair with books has lent me. Smiling widely at the image of myself in a red costume, brutishly delivering my dialogue on a twinkling stage, I pick up my book and walk out the coffee shop.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s