I bought an umbrella from China. A frilly edged, white and pink parasol with a neat wooden handle, glossy and polished.
Walking to class in the morning with the sun trying to burn my skin, I had a sudden vision of Meg going to the Gardiners’ house for the weekend, and deploring the umbrella Mrs. March gets her. She wanted a black one with a white handle, and got a green one instead.
Now, let me explain. This is out of Lousia May Alcott’s Little Women. For those of you who have not read it, please do so now. You’re missing out.
My point is, though, that books have a particular way of nestling themselves into one’s subconscious. Quite a few times I find myself “recalling” a memory, which turns out to be something from a book I’ve read in the past.
Often times, I’ve found myself “remembering” the creaking gables and snow crusted lattices of Wuthering Heights. And the lantern-lit looming corridors of Hogwarts. I’ve smelled the musty odor that lingered in Miss Havisham’s halls, and seen the crumbling wedding dress.
All it takes is one whiff, one image, and I fall into the pages of one book or another.
I look at everyday situations through the eyes of my favourite characters. Their conflicts are mine, and when they resolve them, I cheer. I learn. Every time I pick up a novel, I learn. All about conflict, war, love, tragedy, pain and gladness.
Oh, Elizabeth, it was your pride that refused Mr. Darcy that first time. But you fought battles with yourself afterwards, and then the world started to make sense.
Yellowed pages will always be my home.