There was a book in the middle of the road today. Abandoned.
Its pages were exposed; a couple were blowing in the wind off to the east. The text, polluting the green earth and dry cornfields up the hill. I wondered if it was God displaying what our world should be spreading around instead of that gossip to which we all gravitate. But then I thought maybe I was thinking too deeply into a dropped book from the middle school not even two streets away.
It’s probably some kid’s literature textbook and he just had had enough. He reached that point where he didn’t care anymore. Maybe he couldn’t read as fast as his peers. Dyslexia, perhaps? That book only symbolized failure anyway. “Screw school!” he shouted as he chucked it through his cracked driver-side window.
Maybe it was a mistake. Maybe Tabbie is looking for her book right now. Assuming that it has been tucked away in their backpack all along in between her flowered agenda and her notebook with “Mrs. Tabitha Rooney” on it. Rooney will be her last name some day she just knows it. The procrastination of tomorrow’s essay on war and its poetry printed on those street pages just reached another level. The lost book excuse is budgeted for tomorrow. She spends 30 minutes retracing her steps and yells to her mom five times who’s cooking spaghetti in the kitchen a floor below. “Mom, have you seen my lit book? I can’t find it! Mooooom?”
It easily could have been a college student’s textbook from biology, but this book was paperback and those biology books are hardcover. I know; I carried one around for a semester learning nothing comprehensible. No matter the subject or the importance written inside, it’s in the middle of the road – smack in the middle of the road.
The owner must not care, but the cars do because they bend around so not to run over it. One stops and opens its doors, revealing a scarved, longhaired blonde woman. She’s wearing hipster sunglasses and leg warmers over her jeans. She adjusts her shades to the top of her head. She’s probably in her 20s. Her car’s lights blink to alert passersby to be cautious. We don’t want anyone losing anything else.
She retrieves the book, tucking in the loose, ripped pages and hugs it to her chest. She retrieves it quickly as not to disturb the traffic of late afternoon – 4:35. She leans back and drops the book into the backseat. The flashers go off and the left turning signal flashes instead. She veers into the lane from its graveled edge and drives away. But not before I notice her bumper sticker, “Book Lover”.