b ~ No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be;

ShakespeareBooks (Small)

Right after M and I started going out, I transferred to another
bookstore and became a Trainer. This store was just opened with a
brand new staff and I made a bunch of friends– several of them who
were eventually in my wedding party. One of my dear friends, RC,  had
the same days off and we started hanging out together. Our favorite
pastime was going to used bookstores. Looking through shelves of
previously owned books is like hunting for treasure. In the beginning
it’s easy: if you like it you buy it, no fear of duplication. As you
progress it gets more difficult and challenging to find the books on
your Wish List. My goals were pretty simple, I wanted to find books I
had read in college or books I thought might show up on a syllabus. My
hope was to have my shelves crammed at home, so that someday my child
would head off to school and rather than go to the school bookstore he
or she could peruse our shelves first, amazed at the collection I had
amassed.

I must have blinked because we are not so very far from that day. In
fact, earlier this year T forgot his Beowulf at school and lo and
behold I located an extra copy for him here at home. I hope he sees
these books as a bonus, more often then not I worry that he sees it as
some sort of burden after M and I are gone. Boxes of sentimental stuff
that needs to be hauled to the dumpster and boxes and boxes of books.

I try to purge every now and then, to get rid of the ARCS and galleys
I’ve not yet read and will likely never read. Those are easy. It’s
more difficult to get rid of a book with an emotional attachment. My
gaze sometimes stops at a book I found with RC. I hear his gleeful
laugh at finding a hidden treasure. I think about the carefree way he
approached life or his tales of babysitting the kids of his friends.
How he would imitate the way he would walk with a toddler grabbing
onto his leg as he flailed his arms and looked around wildly,
pretending not to see them. Even then I knew he had a tender heart
despite his insouciant ways. Not every man of such a young age will
play silly games with toddlers. It was like he was training to be the
best sort of uncle. His oft-recited line: “Let’s do it to it for Sonny
Pruitt” is still something I chant when I’m trying to gear up my
family towards some type of forward motion. I wish we were still in
touch or at least he knew how often I thought of him and our treasure
hunting days; the printed out emails I still have amidst those boxes
of aforementioned sentimental stuff.

In all our afternoons together I never once looked for a Shakespeare.
I didn’t need to, I had the complete collection in one handy book that
I used for a few college classes. I couldn’t part with it when I sold
my books back at the end of the semester. I loved its heft, the
crinkle of the onionskin-like pages and they were only offering to pay
me a paltry amount compared to what I paid for it.  When M and I moved
in to our first apartment we started putting our books together on the
shelves (That’s how you know booksellers are serious—when their books
start co-mingling.) It was a pleasant surprise to see that he too
owned a complete Shakespeare. A few weeks ago M came home with another
version, citing that T might want to brush up before auditioning for
the fall play, Cymbeline. I didn’t have the heart to remind him that
we already have two copies. I guess now we each have one of our own.
If someone we know is in need of borrowing one, we are ready. Perhaps
we’ll host our own read-aloud. I hear that Shakespeare really comes
alive that way. The livingroom will be our stage; the backdrop will be
the bookshelves crammed full of riches beyond measure as far as the
eye can see.

About andi

Writer, editor, wrangler of small boys and dogs.

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