They watch from the shelves, calling to me with promises of music, fantasy, data, lore, formulas, heartache, and adventure. Well loved books with bindings of tattered blue, sleek black, dusty green reach out to me as my eyes scan the titles, my fingers tuck a frayed thread here, unfold a bent page there.
Each one speaks from its soul and I am a willing listener – until the voices grow, expand, explode from so many pages, so many characters, so many numbers and graphs and details. What was once a melody of language distorts into a cacophony of letters jumbled together; unrecognizable as words, useless as communication between writer and reader.
At last I silence them. With shuddering heart and steady hand, I pull one, then two, then five soft covers, sleek volumes, faded pages from the shelves and carefully pack the cardboard boxes. The weight of the filled boxes equals the loss I feel as I place each one into the car, hoping to meet many of these friends again – when I have more time, when I have read and reread the books still watching from the shelves and through the window as I turn from the driveway toward the local library’s book sale.