AND THEN A BEAR APPEARED AMONG THE PAGES
2023 begins with a new series of short stories. Our Wonnie bookmark appears among the pages of playful, introspective, adventure books, that we try to explore as well.
The bear’s ears*
To dog-ear, a book’s pages are an outrage.
A sin, I would say.
Stay away from those who fold down the upper corners of the pages.
I have many volumes, and the idea of someone touching, folding or unsewing them is terrifying. These texts have been with me through the years of the University and the PhD, and still are with me when I prepare new lessons for my students. Some editions are rare and derive from some exact purchases at the flea market. I made an inventory to find them more easily; some must be leafed through with gloves because of the pages’ fragility. The library in my living room has nothing to envy to that of “Beauty and the Beast”. Who can touch them? Just me.
Today, however, I decided to get out of the library-living room and walk in the park. I got a book with me, and I’m ready to ‘use’ it on the first bench that will enable me to read. It snowed a few weeks ago, and the surrounding landscape is a white blanket that covers every sound. To leaf through the pages means brandishing a weapon, hitting the air with powerful strokes. Pages must not be folded down: I mark them with a thin mahogany stick presenting the funny face of a polar bear, the mascot of a museum I visited long ago. His smile among the pages is the only harmonious note on a deaf score, that of my living room, plenty of books.
Kids are having fun in the park, people my age are walking their dogs, and old people read newspapers and comment on what they tell about the world. Then it’s about me, my book and a bookmark that keeps my life tidy, even if its’ time to spice it up. I don’t know if this park is used to bookcrossing, but I do it. I do it anyway. I softly leave my book on a wet bench – a few hours ago, I was horrified by the possibility of humidity among the pages. I search for a bar where I’m not going to read. I search for somebody to talk to about all the books I love so much. The Wonnie bookmark? I’m taking it with me. Trust me, whoever will pick up the text will know where I left reading: I dog-eared a page on purpose.
*The title of this short story plays with the English expression ‘dog-ear’, commonly referred to the act of marking books.Back to the articles!
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