Letters to You, #1

Last year I may have deleted all the posts in this blog, but I didn’t actually erase them into oblivion. It wouldn’t have been that easy on my conscience to trash four years’ worth of posts if I didn’t know I could still keep a record of them. I think I’ve always planned to occasionally re-share a chosen few of those posts. So here we are.

Originally posted on October 23, 2013.

I don’t know if you know this, but I started reading because of you. Or specifically, because I was jealous of you. I remember I had all my storybooks with the pretty pictures, but they were too big and too thin. I looked at the books you owned – small and thick with lots and lots of brown pages full of words. There were pictures, too, but they weren’t like those in my storybooks; yours didn’t have colors on them so you would color them yourself with your crayons.

I would look at those books when you weren’t looking. I memorized the characters in the covers. I gasped in delight every time I saw pictures you didn’t color in yet. I wanted to color them myself.

I was a green-eyed monster whenever Mama took you to the bookstore to pick another new one to add to your Jessicas and Elizabeths. I wanted to come with you and get my own.

Ma must have noticed my envy, because one day she finally let me come with you to the bookstore and bought me my first-ever pocket book. I picked it out myself. The Witch in the Pumpkin Patch. It had Jessica on the cover. Jessica has always been my favorite, even then. I wrote my name on the cover, and the date, just like you always did on yours.

I am remembering this because I found that book today and saw the date, right where I wrote it with my messy scrawl back then: March 13, 1999. I was five.

Now I’m twenty and have read so far beyond Sweet Valley.

This makes me remember another day, that one in August, when you told me we’d be visiting my dream bookstore, completely sure that I would freak out. I did. My knees went weak and I clung to your arm. “Really? REALLY?” Bookstores will always reveal the five-year-old in me. You laughed and told your friend, “I told you she’d react like this! She’s gonna cry!” I didn’t cry, but I wanted to. I didn’t want to make a scene, though, so instead I skipped around the store like an overwhelmed kid. You took pictures of me browsing through shelves and even bought me three books. A belated twentieth birthday gift. I think that was the first time you bought me a book. Well, if not the first, then one of just a few.

I don’t remember if I said a proper thank you. We’re not really very expressive when it comes to that stuff, are we? So I probably just muttered a simple thanks. At the time, it might have sufficed, but now that I sit here pondering about it, maybe that wasn’t enough. Maybe there was more I should have been thankful for. Because you didn’t just buy me those three books, not really.

You started my library.

To my sister, 10.04.2013

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