This is my final contribution to my week of #SummerLovin… this may be the best thing I’ve ever written. Would love to hear your thoughts 🙂
The Book of Love is a weighty tome, bound in exquisite green leather. Within its well-worn pages are all the stories you’ll ever need to hear, although they can be difficult to follow. Narrative is rarely linear. Happy endings are rare. Expected endings rarer still.
By a quirk of fate, in an opportune fold of the book by the celestial reader’s hand, two of the pages met one day.
Page 37 was a chapter midpoint, full of florid, overblown descriptions of clouds and silver linings, and ended on an unfortunate joke about bottoms. The page was marked by a smudgy, greasy thumbprint.
Page 294 was very different. Enigmatic and alluring, fiery and passionate, but with an undercurrent of disappointment, the last sentence of the page being cut off midway through. 294 had the air of someone who was certain their car keys were down the back of the sofa, but cannot find them, no matter how many times they’d look. Not a single bottom joke graced that page. Slightly strangely, the reader had circled one word in the centre of the page, seemingly at random. “Birthday”
And although one was even, and one decidedly odd, a great friendship grew, there in the margins, where the binding just – just – connected them.
37 would opine for days in his pompous prose, and 294 received it in good humour, responding in kind. They were never quite on the same page, naturally enough, but they were somewhere close to it. Each challenged the other, in spite of their own shortcomings, and something deeper than friendship emerged.
Each longed for the other, and would dream of ways to make it so.
To be a pair of facing pages.
They fantasised about watching the sun set together, without one being in the closed darkness of the book. They imagined starting their own book, free of the set narrative. They wished a fairytale of their own.
But the binding of the book was fixed, and it was never to be, and they continued their love there in the margins, where the binding just – just – connected them.
And if you look back now, within the well-worn pages of The Book of Love, and take a glance at Page 37, and at Page 294, and at all the pages in between, you will find that the words written on those pages haven’t changed at all. But their meaning has changed completely.