I spent about three hours of my day digging through piles of old books at my dad’s house. As much as I love books (and that is a lot; my house is a small public library at this point), I did reach my limit today. Firstly, most of the books had taken on that “basement smell.” You know the one, that mouldering grimy kind of smell that sloughs off on to your hands, the kind that makes you feel like you’ve been handling mummies all afternoon. And I swear that every other book had a spider on it, or in it, or the spider was laying eggs down the spine. I don’t know why they choose to use my books for this purpose. Are they the bibliophiles of the invertebrates?
Some of the finds, however, made the trip to my dad’s basement worthwhile. Old university notebooks (I can tell which classes were the least interesting by the ratio of doodles to notes), antique volumes from my garage-sale hunting aunt (colonial travelogues are exquisitely, unrepentantly racist, and make for fantastic reading), and my old high school yearbook.
Please read the last line in my graduate entry.
It’s been ten years since I predicted this fate. Somehow, amidst all the twisting and turning of my life, I got to exactly where I had sarcastically assumed I would be. There is something poetically brilliant about it, the fact that I would find this book again only when it was accurate to my life.
They walked in silence for a while.
“So where do you fit in?” Billy finally asked.
Emily squinted up into the blue sky. “I don’t know. Not here, that’s for sure.” They reached a familiar intersection, a pair of quiet streets halfway between Becker Street and her home. On cue, they both stopped. They had kept this routine for the better part of two years.
“Thank you for the escort,” she said to Billy.
“It is always my pleasure, Em.”
As Emily slipped away to the buildings on their left, Billy called out to her.
“I’m going to make something of myself. I am. I’m not just going to be another Becker Street drunk like the rest of them.” He stood defiantly, his arms crossed, his sharp features resolutely set.
“I know you will,” Emily replied, turning to face him again. “But you are already something. You are my friend.”
“A friend that you never take home. One that makes your Mistress cringe when she sees us.” She was upset to see the hurt in his eyes, eyes that normally were so full of mischievous life.
Emily looked down at the ground. “That’s not fair, Billy. I don’t hide you from anyone.”
“Well, be that as it may, I’ll make you proud of me yet. You’ll see, Em. You will. You won’t have to skulk me down back streets when I’m through.” Emily wanted to call him back, but he was already moving quickly back to Becker Street.