Here it is.
My most prized possession, since childhood.
The old titles on the old, wooden bookshelf slide beneath my spindly fingers. Most of them have faded with age, while some are still new- like they have spent but a few days on the shelf. Most have spines three inches thick, and others, a little on the lighter side, creating a mural with the colors of their covers, and the intricate script of their titles.
"You must really love books, don't you, Grandma?" a girl's voice says behind me.
I turn around to see a small girl's face peering at me. Just going on eight years old, she is lying in bed, her eyes sparkling green when she lays eyes on me. I smile at her. For more than an instant, I can see my face reflected in hers, framed by a head of strawberry curls.
"Yes," I answer, turning back to the shelf. "Yes, I really do. And it's only a matter of time before you will too." I don't say so, but there is deep faith imbedded in my words. The slippery scratch of the spines is a magical feeling, making me feel like a five-year-old child who is lost in the rotunda of a great library for the first time, again.
"You think I'll ever read as many as you have?" she asks me, in a tiny and timid voice.
This isn't a hard question to consider. "Oh, I believe you will," I reply. Making like an inchworm, I turn away from the bookshelf, and sit down on the foot of the bed. I sink into the soft, down mattress, and a low creak makes its way out from underneath. It goes unacknowledged, while the girl leans forward.
"How did you get so many of those books?" she asks, a curious smile creeping across her lips.
"Well, that's a long story," I say, a little unsure. "You know what; I think it'd be better if you went to sleep. I don't think your mom would want you staying up too late."
She looks at me with imploring emerald eyes- a look that I can't ever resist. "Please, Grandma," she pleas. "I want to hear."
As many people know, it's not really easy to win over a curious child. The look in her eyes brings me to the light switch by the bedroom door. My finger traces downward on the switch, and the room grows dim, until it's like twilight. Now in the limited light, she looks like a little cherub beneath the tulle canopy of her bed. She wriggles out of her sheets, placing herself differently against the pillows, as moonlight starts to creep through the blinded window.
Without even uttering a word, I'm already being driven back to the days of so long ago. I can remember it all now as if it happened only moments ago. When I grew up, and left my home for four more years of school, in college. When I was a young woman, struggling to leave my mark on a world that couldn't quite find me. While I kept secrets of my years as a child with imagination, hoping for someone I could confide in after so many years. The life of a woman, whose name was Chloe Dewey.