It’s just after noon on the day after Christmas. The sky’s white, and the wind is cold, and a small dog is sleeping next to me on the sofa, with her nose tucked in under my knee.
I have much to do. The router needs rebooting. There’s work in the second bedroom to be done before January when visitors and snowstorms will both guarantee occupation at some point or another. There’s a kitchen to clean, gifts to put away, and we need to find a place to put the tree until next year.
Instead, I read. Bradbury. Quicker than the Eye. I’m transported from this place to that – a farmhouse in Massachusetts, a library, the old roads below the highway, Dog’s funeral. And my own bookshelf, where books read and unread mingle, and swell in ranks.
We received another bookcase for Christmas – a blessing – and I look forward to tearing all the books off their shelves again and moving the books stacked on the floor next to the shelves and at the foot of the steps to proper places. Usually, my husband rearranges them quite clinically, sorted by type/subject and alphabetized by author, one step short of enforcing the Dewey Decimal System.
If he’s not careful, I’ll beat him to it this year, and rearrange them in a more meaningful manner: Read, Unread, and Not The Type You Read Straight Through. Maybe even make it complicated: He Read, She Read, They Didn’t Read Yet, and Reference.
The house is cool and dark. From the porch it looks deserted, the family inside having gone out to celebrate Boxing day or such. In truth, it is deserted, for I am far away along the Martian canals (having switched books), my feet swishing through their dead skin like dried leaves, wondering about the conflicts of Earth, so far away.