Wayne Michael DeHart
Rescued from the furthest corner of the very top shelf, the nondescript brown book revealed itself to be dusty and dated, seemingly dispensable now after a long-ago demotion from displayed to displaced on the still-sturdy steel shelves of the basement library. I chose to allow the dust to see another day and carefully opened it mid-binding, to a random yellowed page of crowded text and curious font.
I began reading at the top, mid-sentence, and stopped, abruptly but gently, many pages later as I became aware of the hour and my inevitable tardiness upstairs. The book was then closed, dust fittingly still intact, and returned to its distant outpost, there destined to once again rest undisturbed for years to come.
For almost two hours, I had escaped the chaotic demands of a schedule to an unforeseen oasis of thousands of words I could touch, and be touched by them in return. The feel of a hard-covered book, the turning of its pages, and the sound of it being snapped shut when “the world” is calling is too often underappreciated and so often forgotten.
The title of that book that ambushed my day?
Decades later, I couldn’t tell you. It didn’t matter then, and it doesn’t matter now. The connection was, as always, fleeting and transient – but then, as with all things pleasing and pleasurable, the mark, the memory, and the moment endure within the mind and the heart. There to dwell comfortably, always within reach, to be revisited at will.
You know, much like an old, dust-covered book, waiting patiently to be rescued, its words to be touched.
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