It isn’t the long, inane days of watching dust bunnies swirl beyond the shelf.
It isn’t the musty smell, or the tight space between the fat Winne-the-Pooh book and the well-worn Chronicles of Narnia.
It isn’t even that I don’t see her smile or hear her awkward laugh anymore.
What makes me angry and sort of sad
is that I deserve it.
The Big Shift changed everything.
I had seen her calendar on the wall polka dotted with spots marked out for “Walter time.”
I smelled her newly sharpened pencils, the coffee aroma wafting from the cup.
I was on the top shelf, just within reach.
Time whispered on.
She sipped her coffee, her tears slipping down into it.
I wondered what could consume such a beautiful mind to make it so sad.
All of a sudden, her eyes brightened. She must have had an idea.
My author looked towards me and smiled.
She took me down, and thumbed through my empty pages. Her face blossomed younger.
This, I thought, is where the magic happens! This is where it finally starts!
She thumped me down on the desk, and whipped open her laptop.
I couldn’t see what she was working on–just her face from down under,
and it was the happiest I’d seen it for a long time.
Look! You’re doing it! I thought upwards towards her.
You’ll love me–I promise. I’m gonna be the best book ever for you!
The spell broke when she scowled at something on the computer, gazed sadly at me and sighed, “How will we ever do this?”
What do you mean? We can do anything!
My words didn’t seem to melt the stone frown on her face.
Can’t you hear me? I raced inside.
Next thing I know, her husband James came up the stairs.
My author began talking fast about something I didn’t understand.
Strange words…like “tuition” and “buying books.”
I could hardly believe it when she ripped me from her embrace
and shoved me behind her computer onto the desk’s back shelf.
I peeked out, waiting for her fingers to curl around my spine again.
But night came and left,
but still not a moment of my Author and me making word-music.
I found this little note stuck to my cover in the morning:
Words, words, words.
I watched the calendar fill up with spots for “Study time” and “Book Coaching”
written right over “Walter time.”
Coffee was brewed, but not for time with me.
The silence lengthened.
The mustiness crept inside.
And I began to fade into the shelf, and the shelf became a permanent part of me.
This was the Big Shift–from the top shelf, to being shelved.
I go to sleep, plagued with the thoughts
She doesn’t think we can do it.
She doesn’t believe in us, because I’m not good enough.
I may never be finished–ever–
because of what I am,
and the thought is deadly enough to make
any book as silent as the grave.