When I first began dating Josh, we spent a lot of time reading. Outside on the college campus, on rooftops, and in parks he’d read me The Once and Future King. On our very first date we went to a bookstore and we read Lafcadio, The Lion Who Shot Back. For our Contemporary Lit class he read Cat’s Cradle to me. By that time I’d fallen in love with him, and was falling in love with literature.
When he graduated college and took a job at Independent bookstore, he’d read me poetry. Sometimes he’d recite it. Still does. I wonder if our kids think that all kids’ dads recite poetry at dinner (and sometimes scrawl it in secret corners of the basement walls). Probably they know its just their dad. But of all the places Josh has read books to me, the couch is my favorite. The first couch Josh ever owned was something out of an old lady’s house. It was a light olive color, the fabric shiny and puckered with buttons. The back of the couch had a curve to it. It was a long couch, fit for a tall bookish man almost 6’5″ and still growing. What’s weird is that while I remember reading on the couch time and time again, I don’t remember a single book we read there. I was probably too busy watching him, hearing him, feeling him. I know I promised myself I’d remember those times reading on that couch. I was very busy memorizing the scene, it seems.
This last weekend and today Josh has been at the hospital quite a bit and I am well into book number three. It’s been me on the couch, alone with my books a lot during this intern year. And I don’t know what it is these past few days that make me need to read like a dog needs a treat. I just can’t get enough. Whatever it is, I was satisfying that hunger again tonight when Eleanor came and sat with me on the couch. To Read.
I smiled and smiled and was a little sad when I had to tell her to go to bed. And then I yelled at her for dog-earing the page of the book she was reading. Gah! She knows better. She just can’t be bothered with the details like that. Anyway, I hope she has memories of reading that are wonderful for her. Or maybe it will Magnolia who remembers her sister reading to her every night–the Harry Potter books in order, the way that Eleanor hates. I have no idea why you’d read them out of order, but for Eleanor it’s satisfying. It’s kind of mysterious to me why books are so satisfying. But they are. They just really are.