I used to be safe – normal, even. But, who is normal anymore? Nobody I know. I remember a time before this, though. My life was ordinary; most of the time I’d just be sitting around with my neighbors. Occasionally, some stranger would take me out and flip through my pages. Sometimes, even, they’d take me home and I’d be on a grand adventure; though this happened much more often when I was younger. Back then I foolishly thought that I’d be going on adventures all the time. But then, as I began to age, they eventually moved me to a new home with new neighbors. I couldn’t see outside any more, but at least I was safe. People would still occasionally pick me up and take me on adventures. They’d read through my pages, and I’d feel like I was fulfilling my purpose. It was wonderful.
Then the storm hit.
I had never seen outside before, without being guided by a human. I guess that’s not completely true – when I was very young I was next to a window. And, even once or twice on the adventures of my youth, I found myself sitting alone wherever my current human friend had placed me. But, even then I felt safe – I knew that they would come back and find me. So, the day the storm hit, I was completely unprepared. I didn’t know what to do; and really, there wasn’t much I could do. Suddenly, the roof tore off of my home, and all of my friends and neighbors started panicking.
In an instant, we were all outside – and this wet stuff was falling all around us! Now, you humans might not think that this is a big deal. If you get wet, you’ll just dry back off, right? But not so for us books – when we get wet our pages get all wrinkly. This happens to you, too, if you stay wet too long. But, though your skin flattens back out, we are never the same. And, even worse, if we stay wet too long, we might have some of our pages stick together; and the scariest thing of all, we might get the black plague!
But, this storm wasn’t just the wet stuff. Something strange was happening, and suddenly I was in the air like someone had picked me up. But, there were no humans around. I was simply flying! I got dizzy very fast as I couldn’t control myself. My pages flapped around like they were being pulled by some unknown force, and I lost track of how long this continued. I may have even blacked out once or twice – but maybe I just try not to remember all of the terrifying details. Eventually, I crashed to the ground, tearing up my face pretty badly when I did.
There was no arrogance left in me – simply fear. I had been on so many adventures, but I wanted no part of this one. I already had scars on my face, and my pages were wrinkled – some of them even sticking together. I hadn’t succumbed to the black plague yet, but I felt that it was just a matter of time. As I lay there, I didn’t know what to expect. My greatest hope was that someone would come by and recognize me, tattered and bruised, and they would rescue me. But, really, what were the chances of that?
Eventually, the storm passed, and the wet stuff stopped. After hours that seemed like days, I even started seeing humans walking around. (I didn’t see any of them during the storm – maybe it scared them, too.) As they walked, most of them saw me and just kept going. I could see them look at me, but I was simply not wanted. But then, she came along.
“What’s this?” She said, bending to scoop me up. I had never seen a lovelier young lady in all of my life. I’m no judge of what people ought to look like, but this girl didn’t dress like any of the people that I had met on my past adventures. Instead, she seemed a bit dirty and scarred like me. “I’ve always wanted this one!” she exclaimed as she turned me over – no doubt assessing my injuries. Then, she gently tucked me away among various cans and bottles and began to push us along in her small vehicle.
I was still concerned about getting the black plague, but now that I had been picked up, I had a glimmer of hope. But, my pages were still stuck and wrinkled, and so I knew that she still might get rid of me – and what were the chances that I would be able to try again? But, as it grew darker, I felt her warm hand gently pulling me out from among the bottles, and she very gently opened my cover. I blinked some, as I hadn’t been able to see in quite some time, and I saw that there was a fire going nearby, which let me warm up – and then dry off. As she turned the pages, she would find my stuck pages. Instead of forcing them apart (which would have left me scarred and useless), she very gently separated them; making sure that each page was completely in tact. She was like a doctor healing all of my wounds, while still enjoying my story bit by bit. Eventually, she came to the end. All of my pages were separated and dry. “Oh! I love it,” she said to herself. I wasn’t nearly as beautiful as I once was, but I had found a new home. I might not have as many adventures as I had before, but I had the thing that mattered – a true friend that loved me in spite of my appearance. I wouldn’t trade her to have new pages, glorious adventures, or anything else.