I have always been fascinated by books. They have always been there for me like a constant friend. I began reading when I was a child; my mother was an avid reader so it rubbed off on me. I have literally spent years of my life just reading and enjoying what the written word has to offer. I enjoy a variety of genres ranging from biography to current events. The only thing I don’t read is romance. I have never had a desire to read this genre. Although I know what goes in to writing a good story, and I can appreciate the work and efforts of so many romance authors, it’s just not my cup of tea. I find it just way too over the top and unrealistic. Unlike a world infested with zombies with only one man to save the earth from certain annihilation- which I DO very much enjoy.
I came up with an idea for a short story about three different characters and how books play an integral part of their lives. I will publish this in three parts so as to not overwhelm the reader. This is taking a small detour from my usual musings but I do hope you enjoy it.
Roberta had been one of the prettiest girls that Evan had ever seen. It was the second period of the Friday night hockey game that almost everyone in their high school attended regularly. It had been as easy excuse to go out and meet up with friends after school and most importantly: The girls.
Evan had not been an overly handsome seventeen year old, but his appearance wasn’t shabby. He had just purchased a new polo sweatshirt with his pizza delivery money and was wearing a modest amount of Drakkar Noir when Becky and her friend, Roberta had approached them (them being Evan and his best friend since sixth grade, Derek).
“Hey Dorks!” Becky yelled playfully.
“Hey Bitches!” replied Derek. Becky and Derek had been dating since the sixth grade and ever since Becky finally put out for Derek last semester, they were invariably inseparable. Becky bounced over, blonde pony tail dancing side to side in the air which made her seem a lot dumber than she actually was in Evan’s opinion, but Derek had been uncharacteristically agreeable ever since that fateful week when Becky’s parents were sunning in Cuba, all along unaware their seventeen year old daughter was having sex in their king size bed; the new ever pleasing (no pun intended) Derek had been a fresh of breath air to his usually quiet and often, seemingly disturbed persona. Behind Becky was her new friend, Roberta. Roberta just transferred from St. Peter’s High last year when they were sophomores but she quickly made friends and even found herself on the cheer leading team which was great for Roberta because at her old school she was never able to move on after losing her weight despite dressing herself in all the latest fashion trends or highlighting her hair. She was always “Bob”. That’s what they called her. It bore no indication of being a pretty teenage girl, which she was, but kids couldn’t get past her plumping up in the 6th grade when her parents divorced and she had been sent to live with her grandparents 2 years. Those summers had been filled with books, sour cream and onion potato chips, pies, cookies and Twix bars by the dozen. It was the only way she could cope with the loss of her Dad to a much younger (and slutty) woman. Books had been her comfort back then as she traveled to far off beaches or met a new boy in college in one of her teen serial novels. Reading had become a sort of coping mechanism for the two years while she worked hard at school and worked even harder to lose the extra 40 lbs she had gained since living with Nanny and Grampy. Her mother returned from Europe, refreshed and looking more smashing than ever, and had promised she would never leave her again. She apologized profusely for leaving her daughter, in particularly when she saw how fat her daughter had become; it only told the tale of how she had coped in her absence for nearly 2 yrs while she had been off “re inventing” herself in Spain. How selfish she had been. She’d never just abandon her daughter like that if the divorce hadn’t been so hard on her.
Roberta had been happy though since she changed schools a year ago. Sure it was midway through high school but her mother had just bought a new house and Roberta thought that starting in a new school rather than staying at her old one (her mother had offered to drive her or even get her a little car to travel back and forth) would give her a fresh start. She could re invent herself and enjoy a little of high school before it was over. She definitely didn’t mind being eyed by track and field star Evan Montgomery as of late (prom was coming up and she was sure he was going to ask her, but he was taking his own sweet time) his attention was a welcome experience considering lots of girls thought he was really nice and cute in own way; he always conducted himself with respect and good manners showing off his impressive upbringing. It also didn’t hurt that he had the dreamiest blue eyes she had ever seen.
“Hi Roberta. That’s a nice sweater you’re wearing.” Evan had blushed a little because it indeed was a nice sweater but what jiggled nicely beneath that sweater interested him even more. Roberta giggled feeling her face get hot, glad she had purchased this new bra, her girls were looking radiant this evening. That evening had been like a dream to Roberta, not only had Evan held her hand that night, he asked her to prom AND he kissed her at the end of the night. That was the first kiss for both of them and it sent Roberta over the moon.
Once Evan had finished his builder’s course and Roberta her secretarial course, they planned to marry. They had so many dreams. First they would buy a house in the suburbs, and then have 2 children, a boy and a girl. They would be so happy together.
The next 15 years brought much for Evan and Roberta. He worked long tireless hours at the plant keeping them both in the life that they had become accustomed to. Roberta had stopped working a couple of years ago after her mother passed away. She felt once again like that abandoned little girl, her confidence was lost and she slipped in to a deep depression. She had found herself falling downward in a black spiral ever since. In 24 months, she had gained 170 pounds making the scales creak at her 325 pound, 5 foot 6 inch frame. The only solace she could find was in her books. Books of mystery and romance kept her enthralled as she nibbled on Oreos and diet Pepsi; she just kept the 2liter bottle with her on the floor by her feet as it was easier than prying herself off the dented couch to amble along to the kitchen for multiple refills. Evan had been supportive as always, but she noticed he spent more and more time at work putting in overtime until he came home late hours exhausted only to fall in to the bed, immediately roll over and begin snoring. The passion of their youth lost to the years and to the baggage that Roberta insisted upon dragging with her everywhere like a really ugly travel set. Evan found solace at work where he could just keep his head down and pay attention to his work, not talking to anyone and that was much better than sitting at home watching Roberta eat the majority of a bucket of chicken while reading her latest novel. He loved her but he just didn’t know what to say anymore. He just tried to make the best out of a less than desirable situation. He could never leave her as she had really been the love of his life although he worried constantly about her health. She had her books at least, he thought to himself many a working night.
“At least I have my books…” Roberta sighed heavily to an audience of no one. She had been unable to carry children. She had tried, unsuccessfully, twice before giving up altogether. She came to look upon her ever increasing book collection as children of sorts. There she could find the adventure she longed for, fall in love with a cowboy who loved her as is, or save the world at the last minute with a genius impromptu plan that no one could have possibly anticipated. Her books were always there for her; from her lonesome youth waiting for her mother’s return or her father’s love, until now as an overweight, lonely housewife, out of love and out of dreams. They got her through. They were her constant companion. They never complained about how much she had eaten, how much weight she had gained or how sad she was. She almost loved reading more than she loved her husband, but she could never leave Evan. He was the only one who never gave up on her; he never left her not once, even after she had to be hospitalized for a failed attempt at suicide. The pills were there, her doctor prescribed them for her and it would have been so easy. They had been through too much together and in the early years of their marriage they had been so happy and in love that they both clung to this earlier version of themselves. Even though Roberta had all but removed herself from society and locked herself up in her home like a recluse, she still felt oddly connected to the world through her books and as long as she could read, she figured she still had reason to keep going…
Stop by for Part 2 coming soon….
Live Humbly, Be Charitable, Live Graciously,