It was a hard time.
I was living in the middle of nowhere with my fiance. Only, he was travelling for work most weeks and I was alone a lot of the time. I kept telling myself that I was an adult, that I could handle it, but I also had this suspicion that something was wrong. He seemed to be harder and harder for me to grasp.
About a year earlier, when he started travelling, he decided that he needed to start reading to kill time in airports. I was so excited! Finally, after all of the time that I spent watching movies he loved and watching wrestling with him and listening to bands he liked, FINALLY he was getting into MY hobby! I thought about books he might like. I wrote them down. I gave him a list.
He ignored it.
And, you know, I got it. I understood. He knew the books I read. Young adult. Classics. Random things I found on the shelf at work. V.C. Andrews. Joe Meno. I was working through The Dark Tower series by Stephen King at the time. I wasn’t a huge fan of mysteries or suspense or the kind of books you found in an airport. I’ve never read James Patterson. I understood that he thought I would only suggest books to him that I liked and he was sure that he wouldn’t like the same books. Never mind my years of working in a library. Never mind the degree I was digging through. Readers advisory was an alien
I remember when he bought the book. We were at Target with a friend who worked at the library with me and we stopped in the book aisle. I handed him a book, “You might like this one.”
“Nah. What do you think I’d like?” he asked our friend. Even though she was mostly reading Virginia Woolf at the time.
She shrugged and pulled a random book of the shelf, giving him a “I don’t give a fuck” look and said, “I don’t know. This?”
He bought the book. And then I saw it everywhere. I saw it at work and in stores and for some reason it seemed to always be around our house, on the coffee table or on the kitchen counter. I STILL see that book all over today. I’ve never read it. In fact, my mind drew such a distinct line around it that I’ve never read any of the author’s books and actively skip over reviews when I come across them.
And maybe this would make sense in a different context. Maybe if it was what he was reading when we broke up or maybe if my friend had actually made a heartfelt suggestion for him. Maybe if he told me repeatedly how great it was or if it had randomly ended up in my books when I moved out. But there was none of that. It was just a cover seared into my brain. I even had one of his books when I moved out, a book that I read and really enjoyed and still think about today and kind of want to reread. I read it right after we broke up so that I could get it back to him ASAP and be done with it.
Today I added that book to my TBR list. For a lot of reasons. The first is that the book was published a decade ago and I read someone raving about how great it is probably once a week still. The second is that I am more into murder and mayhem and mystery in my books these days. The third is that I realize it’s not already on there for a pretty stupid reason and you can’t hate a book because someone else liked it.
Plus, what’s another book on my TBR??