Hidden behind your neutral black cover are millions of words and thousands of stories. Flick, swipe or click. Your ginormous appetite owns a collection of hundreds. Pages as white as paper that can’t be folded, muddied or felt, you show us the future of our literary world. Steering clear of sagging wooden shelves and forgotten aisles, you convert libraries into digital spaces.
Surviving the sustainable revolution, encouraging the eco-friendly world of paperless books, you envelope your readers in the anonymity of your existence.
Uncomfortably balanced between the fingers of my co-passenger on this short journey to work, you fiercely guard what you share. I stare at the blackness of the cover, looking for a hint. I try to imagine what you might be narrating today. Is it the tragedy of a long forgotten war, or a fictional hero brought to life? Are you facts woven into a story or an imaginary friend today? I will never know because I cannot see your face.
I hold a book with a cover so vivid the letters seem to scream for attention. Hues of red and violet escaping through the gaps in my fingers. Completely consumed in the narrative I am ignorant towards the general rhythm of the train. Pockets of unoccupied space allowing for a peek every now and then. As I suddenly become aware of my destination awaiting me, a small tap on my shoulder, a rush of words “This is a brilliant book!”.
I’m now on the platform. The words and the voice have both departed, passengers of the train I was once aboard. A conversation, ended the same instant it started. And yet there it was. A conversation. All it needed was that one recognizable image, the flamboyant book cover.
I settle into a seat, surrounded by all the things you need on a long journey. I dive deep into pages with intricately woven characters. The kind that not only demand respect, but occupy every ounce of your consciousness. Music, distant and imperceptible, streaming right into my head. A fragment of description makes my mind leap towards the sketch it presents itself as. I look up. A smile from across the table, with glances directed at the book in my hand. The subtle yet striking cover peeking through my small hands.
“This book is my absolute favourite. How far have you come along in the story?”
One question. That’s what started the conversation. A long journey made slightly shorter. A friendly face. A sense of comfort settling in as sharing the common table became easier.
The sun plays hide-n-seek with clouds. Warm and meekly bright, a perfect day. I nestle into the base of tree trunk, holding up a book. Golden letters on the dark cover radiant in the sunlight. I pause to have a look and catch the same dazzling letters a little away from me. I smile knowingly as the reader reaches out for his book. He notices my gaze and smiles back when he looks what I hold. As we sit alone in our own little corner, we share a story between us. The knowledge of what the author creates.
Sky coloured in shades of purple, the light slowly dims. As we walk out of the park, our eyes meet again, taking away a smile and the little secret.
Dear black book, years ago at school, we made pacts. A book for a book. A day of exchanging ideas and stories. A plan for the next day. Everything is now at lightning speed. With you I can share a link, connect to the ‘cloud’ or send a message. I’m one click away from sharing what I love with the ones I love. But we make no plans. There is no next day.
Black or white, small and light, you fit into any bag or hand. You make reading easy as I jump from a flight to a train. You make the world a little smaller. Why then do I still crave the paper between my fingers?