The Anarchist Project is delighted and honored to welcome Lindsay, one of our favorite writers to today’s featured post. She writes over at Birdykins and is truly a talent, worth checking out before she’s on the shelf at Barnes & Noble for $23.99. Enjoy, and tell your friends, you’ll be able to say you knew her before she was famous…
All Great Love Stories by Lindsay
All great love stories begin with a book. The book should be old, the pages yellowed, softened by a hundred different thumbs. If it’s hard covered, the paper slip should be missing. If it’s a paperback, the cover should be rubbed raw in places, like the patchwork of a well-used quilt. These are ideals, but what really counts, what really matters are the words. They should be strings of black pearls winding off the page, leading back to your heart, clotted with sweat and tears. They should be hard and dark when rolled between fingers and if you manage to break one open it should stain your hands violet and smell like summer and a palm full of blackberries crushed between hungry lips.
It’s best if the book is read out loud, late at night, when a voice can hang suspended in the air above your heads, each word drifting down to settle in your hair like snowflakes. Sentences and then paragraphs gathering in drifts at your temples, burying you both in time, preserving that moment for when it’s needed most, when the love is older, breaking apart, crumbling between grasping fingers and you need to remind yourself what once was. What could be, again.
The author and the title don’t matter, although they shouldn’t be so obvious as to garner a shake of the head or so off-base as to be looked over quickly and then shelved away. What matters is what the book represents. It should have been read and reread. It should have spent nights by your head and days carried from place to place in your back pocket. It should be sun damaged from countless windblown adventures, the sole company on a splintering dock by a bay. If some of the pages crease from forgotten water encounters, so much the better. The bathtubs and waves trace roads like maps in the paper from the past to present. From where you’ve been to where you’ll be. These are the wrinkles that time creases into the corners of your eyes; these are the consequences of laughter, of love.
All great love stories begin with a book because each book is a promise. It’s how you pull it out of your bag and set it on the table playing at an afterthought. As though you hadn’t spent time on your knees in front of your book shelf like you were sending up prayers. As though you hadn’t rethought the selection again and again until shaking your head you grabbed up your first choice and made for the door. As though your heart isn’t beating like an animal shaking the bars of a cage; like a secret pounding to be let out; like all the sins Pandora couldn’t contain.
As though the book isn’t an offering; your heart held out, quivering, in sweating hands.