Rituals

Picture this: You’ve reached the final page of a book you’ve immensely enjoyed. Part of you wants to revel in its completion, but a bigger part doesn’t want it to end. You read the last paragraphs slowly, taking in each individual word, searching for a deeper meaning. And when you reach the final sentence, you pause, then read it again. Because you’re in denial; maybe it’s not really over, and by re-reading it you can experience it again.

But then you close the book slowly, placing it on your lap and running a hand down its cover. That beautiful cover. You admire the craftsmanship of the book itself, the physical item that was the product of all the emotions within you. You hug the book to your chest, maybe your eyes tear. You think of all the people you know who have read it, so you can discuss it. And you think of all your friends who haven’t read it, regretting that they’re missing this kind of beauty.

But at some point, the book has to be filed away. It’s time to move on, even if it hurts. So you delicately place the book on your shelf, then stare at it for a while. You sit on the floor, and after ten minutes you’re still on the floor, staring at your shelves. You lie down, staring up at the bookshelf looming over you. And you think of all the other wonderful books there, past tales that have provided the same feelings, and you want to read all of them, all over again, all at the same time.

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