Every now and again I feel the painful twinge of loss. That feeling that clasps around your heart and gives a little squeeze. I've felt it again in recent days, and I'm worried that I won't get over it this time.
My mom gave away some of my books. Not just a box of random titles that I will never remember having read and would never pick up again, anyway. This box contained my prized titles.
They were worth nothing in terms of resale value. No classic first editions, hard to find, antique books. But, these books were worth their weight in sentimentality.
There were signed copies from my favorite writing professor from college. I was so embarrassed, taking the books in and asking him if he wouldn't mind signing them for me. I felt like a band groupie, blushing and nervous. The feeling was something similar to the first time I approached a boy I liked: awkward limbs, dry mouth, and fractured sentences. Those were hard to lose.
But then there was:
*an autographed copy of my next favorite writing professor's first published book
*the books I read and studied during my study abroad stint in England
*random, influential books from my childhood
Sigh. And let's not forget that the giving/throwing away, we're not really sure what happened to these boxes, all took place several years ago. I just can't let it go! It's not my mother's fault. They were in her basement forever, giving the illusion of diminished value. The truth being that their importance was so great to me, I had chosen to leave them in a 'safe' place as I took up a nomadic lifestyle, seeking out my place in the world.
When I finally settled in where I am now, I contacted my mom, asking when I could retrieve my boxes from the basement. She paused. Thought long and hard. Then told me that she was pretty sure there was no more of my stuff in her basement. I was stunned. I repeatedly asked her to check, check, and check again! She did. They were gone. I cried.
I know I can always go repurchase the books that were lost, but those new, glossy covered tomes would not bear the same scuffs, tears, bends, and tatters of experience the other ones possessed. Sometimes the loss is overbearing, knowing they are lost to me forever.
Other times I sort of giggle as I imagine someone picking one up and asking who the 'Lisa' from the inscription is. Then I imagine that very copy, years in the future, up for auction at Christie's, the description in the catalog posturing at who the mysterious 'Lisa' was and what her significance was to the author. I know this is ridiculous thought to imagine, but it somehow helps to think that my loss was for the greater good of the future, and will serve a purpose.
Of all the titles, in all the used bookstores in the world, I wonder who's reading mine?
Have you lost a book of enormous, sentimental significance to you?