Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Puddles are the Essence of Romance

On this particularly cloudy afternoon, I found myself sheltered in a cozy corner of the campus bookstore. After a stressful day of classes and the lovely rain storm that blessed us this morning with sheets of horizontal rain and claps of thunder, I was set on a quest for solitude. I sought a place of refuge where my worries, endless negative thoughts, and troubles would melt off my tense shoulders into a puddle beside me on the floor. While I contemplated various favorite spots of mine on campus I decided that today the bookstore would be my hero. As soon as I pulled the heavy double doors open, I could feel a wave of relief. Shelves of books cooed my worrisome heart with sweet words of support and love, drawing me into the depths of the labyrinth-like maze of bookshelves. Moments later, the racing thoughts about deadlines, exams, lack of both a boyfriend and a career path ceased. Sent to a time-out, my mind was cleared of the thoughts that weigh me down and a new Rach emerged. A sweet smile spread across my rain-mussed face as I wandered down each aisle, my eyes adoringly caressing the spine of each book that I passed. Eventually, I made it to the top floor where I chose a quaint, quiet table to read at.

Reading, better yet, reading for enjoyment. What a wonderful concept. From my rain sodden backpack I wrestled out a new book that I have been indulging my senses to this past week. Rented from the library, it has no appealing cover artwork, no special graphics, and is quite the unassuming book. I cradle my solid black cover book and run my finger along the gold embroidery. A wave of excitement rushes over me when I crack open the book, feeling the weight of the pages stretch the spine. Glorious, purely and simply glorious. I delve into the story and suddenly the world slowly vanishes. Then, I am lost completely. My spirit flows between the lines of the pages, twirling and pirouetting on each vowel, while flirting effervescently with each consonant. My mind hungers with each turn of the page, wondering what will happen if I just read one more, one teensy bit more. My world is wholly and unfathomably united with this literary world. What the character sees and hears, I too see and hear. The interruption of a cell phone or the bustling of the coffee shop slowly rustles my consciousness from deep below the waters of my temporary literary coma. With great care, I break the surface where reality and fiction meet, and with a breath am revived.

I was especially craving a good read today after meeting with one of my Psychology classes, in which we discussed the process of self-actualizing. While the whole process is somewhat elusive, self-actualization is the attainment of one's true self in which one understands without a shadow of doubt what talents, skills, and special interests separates them from the rest of the world. My professor is a dear old man who stands a little shy of 5'8". His shoulders are slumped forward, his face is of a ruddy complexion, and he wears a different colored flannel shirt everyday. Today, he asked the class to raise our hands if we enjoyed reading. I acquiesced to his request and lifted my hand, only to see that most of the class had their hand up also. Comforted by the fact that I was surrounded by so many of my peers who enjoyed reading as much as I did, I began thinking of how seldom I read for enjoyment. How often do I sit down and actually throw myself into a book? Quite frankly, never. I am usually so focused on academics that I let the small aspects of life, like reading, pass me by. I make lists of books that I intend to read, rent many from the library, and download a few onto my Kindle, but I never sit down and read. I found this very upsetting. I did not understand how I could let something that is such a part of me, something that I identify myself with waste away. I am so concerned with time and not having enough time that my life, the only life that I am given, is leaving me. As important as school is, I am beginning to learn that there is a world far outside of academics. Now is my chance to escape.

So, I read. I read shamelessly as the pile of homework wailed in my backpack, hurling insults and harsh words at me for abandoning it. Yet, I found the strength to ignore the yelps and do something for myself. Books that I read become part of my identity, they shape who I am and birth new ideas. Without books and reading I would not be me. I can tell you, dear friend, that this afternoon was one of the most productive afternoons that I have yet to meet. For in this afternoon, I found a piece of my soul, stuck there between chapters three and four of a book. 

Rainy morning again.

I think puddles are the essence of romance.

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