Twenty-one years ago in a city that was then still colorful and bustling with life, there lived a little girl. Truthfully, that girl didn’t know much about the city. She lived in a safe bubble that included her home, her best friend’s. The fruit place across from it. Her school and the beach. Like any other girl, she was always accompanied by an adult. And even during those times where she was around other children she had nothing to say to anyone. Her eyes were the only feature she used to express her feelings and needs. Day in, day out. She noticed the colors everywhere. The sky, the peach, and the watermelon. The grass and the ocean. Nature and colors were the first hints of magic she encountered in her early years. Then came the smells. She was addicted to the smell of chocolate chips and mint cookies. There was something about that smell that made her so happy in that way only little girls could be. More magic unfolded through time. She discovered a pile of books in her dad’s room one day, she was just learning to read so those words seemed like a big, exciting mystery to her. Her small hands and wide eyes skimmed the pages trying to make sense of what they said. She’d smell those books and touch the words, some of them were inked and some of them were printed. She couldn’t wait to be able to read them all. She wanted to read them all. It wasn’t long before she indeed read each and every book her dad had. Her favorites were one of crime. She was a kid, it was majorly inappropriate, but she inhaled those books and shifted through them so fast. Being outside didn’t interest her anymore, because there were monsters outside. It was safe in her room with her father’s books. As she grew older her interests didn’t change. All she wanted to do was read. More words, more pages, more books. More, more, more. One day, she started a new book written by that woman whose books she always read and re-read. All it took was a quick research to find out more about her. The woman who left her old life behind in her quest for more. Her inspiration. The little girl fell in love with books, dust, and ancient things. she dreamt of being an archeologist, digging up the lives of those who are long gone, and maybe finding herself in the process, but life had other plans, as it always does.
That girl is me, I think. You see, I’ve been through the worst couple of months of my life. I’ve witnessed my greatest fear take shape and become a reality. My worst fear became a reality and in those weeks I’ve lost track of life. It started when my dad got sick. At first, I thought he had a cold! but then his face became paler and smaller. His hands trembled and he couldn’t hold himself up anymore. Surely, that couldn’t be right. He’s my dad. Nothing can happen to him. He’ll be okay, right?
As the days went by, he started getting better slowly. I started getting worse. I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t eat. I didn’t want to see or talk to anyone because I was fucking terrified that if I took a deep breath and closed my eyes even for a second he’d be gone. It was a nightmare. I spent nights on end watching the night turn into day. Life went on, unsurprisingly, yet something halted within me. I didn’t notice it at first because all I did was cry. I cried in hospital corridors and in bathrooms and in cabs. Then there were no more tears for me to cry. Do you know that feeling when you cry so much you no longer are able to shed any more tears? it feels sober and yet so distant. Kinda drunk and still aware of everything?
Everything became distant and non-relatable. I wanted to call my friends and cry and tell them everything, but talking about it made it even more real. Even writing about it was out of the question. Suddenly I was overwhelmed by reality. A reality I spent my whole life escaping. It was then i realized that maybe that’s the problem, maybe i was wrong. Maybe life wasn’t unicorns and roses and happy endings. Maybe it wasn’t enough to just believe in my plans and surround myself with love. Maybe my to-do list and bedtime couldn’t save me. And maybe it was all a lie. Maybe I’ve been lying to myself. Maybe the words I’ve been reading and loving since i was a child are the reason all this is happening. I blame them. I blame books. I could’ve been normal, yet I still find myself hanging on every word i read. I still feel every letter in my bones and imagine scenarios and people. I imagine lives that aren’t my own and feel them under my skin. But what if the things that used to bring me joy don’t anymore? what if the person i was before doesn’t exist anymore. What if I can never read again ? or write?
I used to escape life through those books piled on the floor of my bedroom, now i can’t even look at them anymore. I kind of feel like a middle-aged woman who wakes up one day and decides she wants a divorce.