I’m a book.
Yes, I’m a book. Can I just briefly describe myself? I just want us to be on the same page. Not to be racist, but I am black. I have a black cover. Thick. Hard. There are wordings on me twirled in sexy fonts. If you stare at me long enough, you will see my name engrained on it. Memorize it. Call me by name, if you may. You can ask that lady on the counter, she will direct you to where I stay. I rarely open myself to people, but if you hold me nicely, I just might open up so you can read between my lines. Peek in me so that I feed your lustful eyes. Sad, many people are not interested in me. It must be the colour of my skin. I mean, I hear black is a colour loathed by many. People just waltz by, peeking through other books.
It kills me.
I live here, on this bookshelf. It’s a chapter of my life that I have long learnt to live with. This is a place I have called home for almost three years. It could be more, I’m not good with numbers, I only know words.
Ever since I was squeezed in here, I have had hundreds of neighbours. Fellow books. I have had neighbours with dog-eared covers. I have had neighbours that barely last a day here. I have had bestsellers as neighbours. I have had neighbours too small the size of my prologue. They come and go. They take them off the shelf, literally.
Just recently, I had an Autobiography of Donald Trump as my neighbour. I don’t build walls around myself; I’m welcoming of everyone. And just when I thought his Autobiography would make me great again, it was taken. I don’t know why people are fascinated by Donald Trump lately. On my right, I remember, there lived J.K. Lowling’s Harry Potter books, but they have all gone. They were great neighbours. Childish, yes, but fun-loving and sometimes scary. Now, imagine living between Donald Trump and J.K. Lowling with the rift between the two. That’s my life. Exciting, huh?
They were all taken, leaving me all alone, stuck here gathering dust and feeling like a seed thrown by a disinterested farmer.
Every morning, there’s this ageing man who walks in here and cleans this place. From where I sit, I always see him scrub the surface, humming to himself leisurely. Then he places a ladder against this shelf, climbs up, and cleans me, too. Perhaps in an attempt to make me prettier so that a human out there can be lured to pick me up at least.
Unfortunately, no one picks me up.
How painful can that be? Humans, such uncultured, boorish, self-centered creatures. On a good day, when I think I’m getting lucky, people come, open me up (not what you think), flip through me, my back placed against their palms, then close me and push me back. I feel used. Why not take me home, you bloody mammal? Am I not worth your money? Am I not appealing to your retina? At least book me for a day and read me. Pick me, let’s curl together in the corner of this library. Let’s feed each other’s eyes.
I don’t care whether you have a bad character, I have characters too. I don’t care whether you have other plots, I have plots too; exciting, dramatic, tense, scary. I don’t care whether you’re an expert, read my excerpt. I don’t care whether you’re a bookworm, the early bird catches the worm; come early tomorrow. I don’t care about the title you hold, I have a title, too. I don’t care whether you own a grocery, I have a glossary, too. I don’t care who you’re, I just want you to read me. At least!
I’m a book.
And that’s my story.