Sometimes when my head is stuck in its own reality of future tunes which haven’t been written or past melodies long gone in the wind, I buy a book. But before we get into that…
Years ago there was a summer that lay in between desperate days of avoiding failing grades and missing alarm clocks.
It was a summer where drama had taken away most of my friends. I do not remember how it happened, really, but something to do with the meddling of parental opinion. Inside jokes were lost and so were future memories.
The summer was hot, sweltering hot. The pool seemed ideal till one toe in rendered images of bath water, filled with other’s filth soaked bubbles. Instead I chose to lie on the floor in my dining room; close to the wall where three windows connected-at-the-hip blasted warmth, packaged carefully by the sun. Here I felt the cool breeze of the 67 degree AC, but could still smell my freckles basked in sunscreen.
Victer, (yes with an ‘e’) my fury orange and white old friend, lay far enough to avoid any causing of potential sneezes. Yet, still close enough to enjoy his whiskers basking in the blissful star’s light with a familiar face near by.
I spent weeks like this. Only bothered when my Irish boss’ eye’s promised brownie sundaes if I picked up extra night shifts of putting on my black slacks and white polo for work filled evenings.
Soon the rhythm of my teenage songbook felt repetitive, and lonesome. Even Victer had gotten bored of his role as window bathing companion and left me to chase chipmunks in the trees. So, of course, my mind was left to do what minds often do when abandoned by people produced conversation – began dialogue with itself.
It’s a funny thing to look back at your past with a perspective now tempered with growth. Perhaps this was the summer I was bit by a spider or more likely injected with an experimental treatment giving me my scarring, burden of a superpower – the ability to overthink, everything. But unlike a majority of my superhero friends I was lucky enough to have a loving, living family.
After many quiet dinners my parents set off on a mission, refusing my ears be the only ones who were allowed to hear my inner considerations.
So, my dad introduced me to James Patterson. No not exactly a handshaking meet up – he showed me his words. And then the words of Scott Westerfeld, Jodi Picoult, and Ellen Hopkins. He took me to a Books-A-Million down route 7 where I encountered Mitch Albom, who, in my opinion, is the greatest man I have ever figuratively (and once literally) met who strings words so perfectly together they can make you dance with your own heart.
We would give up our days of the dining room floor to sit in the aisles of fiction and pile books up to our shoulders. A man with brown floppy hair and khaki pants up to his belly button secured with the same brown-of-his-hair belt came to know us.
“That will be $120, sir”
“Dad, it’s too expensive. Should I put a few back?”
“They are books, Sweetness, no amount of money is too expensive when it comes to words on a page that help you leave your brain”
It’s true. Like most things my father says, he was right. Money can buy a lot of things to assist in the abandoning of reality. Best to spend it on other’s words rather than what can make yours disappear.
I lost count of how many books I read that summer. I lost count of the amount of mind’s I got lost in instead of wondering what terrain held in my own.
I eventually took one to the pool, avoiding the splashing water. I met a girl who had her sunglasses deep in the middle of the same pages I held in my hand. A friend, I soon called her. And just like that people induced conversation was soon overwhelming for my introverted mind, but warmed my heart more than those three windows ever did.
Anyway, it is summer again. I’ve decided to lay backwards in my bed so my feet arrange just short of my pillow and my eyes rest on the shadow of the 6th blind in front of a new window.
A new drama, called a 9-to-5, has taken my friends.
I just finished listening to my inner voice read its, I think the fourth, book of the summer; The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto by (yes, you guessed it) Mitch Albom.
If you read it then I want you to know when I closed the final page I played Tony Bennett and Francisco Tárrega till I couldn’t stop weeping as if Presto was truly once alive himself. Music and books combined have a way of making it impossible not to feel every single emotion in every single bone.
I’ll keep reading. It is the kryptonite to my overthinking, which is a superpower I am attempting to pawn off to Marvel in turn for a signed copy of Logan. I think it could really make for a better villain, but, hey, to each his own.
History has a funny way of repeating itself, but you know that. Characters vary, environments often change, and the story may seem different but the message typically remains the same. But remember when I said that thing about perspective and growth? Ah, yes, the true superpower in this story or is it the true kryptonite?
Either way, I’ll keep reading.