Why I Love Books, or How I Learned the Moon Won’t Kidnap Me
“Books are a uniquely portable magic.” — Stephen King
My parents never read me any fairy tales.
They weren’t big fans of fantasy, but they were huge fans of facts.
One day, my friend Emily told me she knew why the Moon followed her. I was intrigued because I, too, had noticed the Moon following me, which only heightened my budding anxiety.
“My dad told me the Moon follows all pretty girls!” she chirped happily while twirling around, surely feeling herself the princess of her own castle.
My first thought was, “What a creep! Someone should alert the authorities of this crime waiting to happen!”
I could see it all over the headlines: “Thousands of pretty girls disappear. They are now believed to be in the Moon.”
I ran to my Dad, and point-blank asked him: “Dad, am I pretty?”
Without looking up from his work, he replied, “Of course you are. You’re the prettiest girl I know.”
This was a devastating answer. I sunk to my knees and started crying and babbling, “The Moon is going to kidnap me and I won’t be able to see you or Mom anymore!”
Now my Dad looked up, more intrigued by my answer than by the papers on his desk. He stared at me with a quizzical look for a few seconds, allowing me to empty all my tears and babbles before asking me, “What?!”
“Emily’s Dad told her the Moon follows all pretty girls. That means it’s going to kidnap us all to go live in the Moon!” I replied, already picturing how difficult it would be to eat with a glass helmet on at all times.
My Dad laughed, which made stop my crying immediately. Was he not concerned that he would lose his only daughter to the Moon? Well, maybe the Moon would be a better place to live than this ungrateful world.
“The Moon seems to follow you because it’s very far away. It’s so far away that no matter where you go or how fast you move, it will always appear to be in the same place.”
He then took out a book with pictures of space to show me just how far away the Moon and the stars were. He also reassured me that the Moon would never take the me, pretties girl of them all.
I was fascinated. According to my Dad, all answers could be found in a book. These pages held the comfort to my anxiety. These pages held the fragrance of peace.
I ran to share with Emily my newfound knowledge. She was still twirling around, blathering about Prince Charming, castles, fairies, and evil step-mothers.
I showed her the space pictures, certain this would put her at ease and show her what a liar her Father was, but Emily had already moved on. She was now talking about marrying Prince Charming and having kids with him.
“But when we write a letter to the Stork, it will be in pink ink, because that’s my favorite color,” she said, her pupils turning into hearts.
“Letters to whom?” I asked in complete disbelief.
“The Stork. My Mom said that when someone wants to have a baby, they must write a letter to the Stork. The Stork receives the letter and brings you the baby, but you have to leave your window open or else it will give your baby to another family.”
Once again I was dumbfounded. But Emily had already proven to be an idiot, so I ran to my mom with this new burning question.
“Mom, where do babies come from?”
Without hesitation she said, “I’ve been preparing for this moment,” as she walked toward the bookshelf and pulled out a gigantic book. The spine read “Human Anatomy Illustrated.”
My mom then proceeded to explain to me all the ins and outs (no pun intended) of human procreation. It was at this moment that I wished the Stork was real. A letter, a stork, and an open window seemed more appealing than this whole biological process, but I was reassured by my mom that I could put this whole thing out of my mind until much later on.
This was book was also fascinating. I kept flipping through it, marveling at wonderful images of skeletons and skin-less bodies. Once again, the crisp, fragrant pages filled me with a sense of wonder and power. All this knowledge could be mine!
To this day, I’m still mesmerized by books, by the facts they hold, by their power to stir feelings, to move multitudes, to change lives. I’m so grateful to my parents for introducing me to these treasures.
For me, the Moon is a constant reminder of my own ignorance and my thirst for truth. But the real question is, what will I read next?