The Stack

The Stack

It happened. For the first time since I’ve foregone a nightstand with a stack of books for simply a stack of books as a nightstand, I accidentally knocked it over.

“No!” I screamed.

Melinda bolted upright. “What’s wrong?” she asked with immediate and serious concern, as if expecting to hear I’d received a text with tragic news, found a bedbug, or spilled coffee on our all-white bedding.

“My stack!”

The couple dozen books careened and then hit the floor with an awful crash. The titles I’d taken care to sort in a precarious yet specific order were scattered, sprawling indecently, across the hardwood floor in various states of un-read. Pencils that once marked places rolled away. Spines broke. Pages crumpled. Authors who should never touch were spooning. All systems were destroyed.

“Oh no,” Melinda said with a gasp and then ducked behind the iPad. To stifle a smile?? She lives with that 3-foot tall tower of tomes beside my half of the headboard, because she loves me. However, Melinda has ceased expecting it to ever dwindle down to one and then poof! disappear. The moment I finish reading one book; another (or three) instantly replaces it.

Some do linger. I’ve been in the middle of Siberia for months. At Home is just such a nice base. I’ve been waiting for the right moment to reread Stonewall, which came on Monday. Thanks Mr. President! No, wait. Dune (Melinda’s favorite sci-fi story) is next. It is. This time, I promise. But give me a break, some, such as 352-pages of Savage sex advice, just take minute. Yet, others hardly leave my hands long enough to rest upon the top of the teetering pile. And a moment ago, they were all stacked accordingly.

I knelt down to assess the damage. Picking through the wreckage, I discovered a book that I’d intended to give as a gift years ago, but thought I had lost it. How did it end up in my stack? How could I have overlooked it? It was a slim, quiet, beautiful book that could have only been made in Cambodia. Yet, here it was—found—with serendipitous timing. For the first time in ages, I’m seeing the person for whom I’d bought the book on Saturday. What a gift! In so many ways, books surprise me.

Has one surprised you lately?