I have this friend. I use the term “friend” loosely because in this day and age the word friend is subjective. I have friends at work and I have friends on FaceBook. Then I have friends I would cross a burning bridge for. This is not about any of those friends. This friend and I, we are book friends. We sit across from each other and talk about plot and protagonists like they are relatives. “I just can’t understand Ivan and his screaming” he would say. “Maybe that was the only way he could articulate his feelings?” I would reply. “It makes as much sense as Jane’s silly journey across the moor” he would shoot back. “I thought Brother Juniper was onto something with that divine intervention theory” he changes the subject. Back and forth, forth and back we would talk intention, talk character. The routine is always the same. He flops in a chair across from me and, steadying an overburdened backpack on his less than steady knees, he will pull one, two or three books from its depths. These books are what we will talk about. Usually I have nothing to be surprised about. Nothing catches me off guard.
One day all that changed. Instead of pulling books from his bag out he drew by one ear a stuffed toy rabbit. With a flourish followed a goose feather of considerable size. A pink petite cat dish. A bottle of bright blue dish detergent. I stared at these gifts as though petrified. In a way I was. This was breaking with tradition. Way left of normal. These gifts were vipers, poisoning what I knew of our “friendship.” ‘Oh’ was all I could say. Oh was all that crossed my mind and escaped my lips. Oh. What else could I say? Our relationship had jumped the rails. It was now so far off track I couldn’t think straight. Could I build a library around the lunacy? How could I contain it back to normalcy?
In a word, impossible. I decided to draw my own conclusions:
Dish detergent ~ Biodegradable Soap by Amy Ephron.
Goose feather ~ Tide, Feather, Snow by Miranda Weiss
Cat dish ~ Darconville’s Cat by Alexander Theoux
Toy rabbit ~ The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams, of course.
Maybe this is what we will talk about the next time I see him.