It is the end of the year. I am an English teacher. Part of the end of the year process is putting away all of those books that sudents return. The inside of the front covers are fraught with old names. Students sign their names in the large box with the date and the teacher. I pick up one of the old copies of Catcher in Rye. I look through for my current student’s name, and I see one from my past. My heart saddens immediately. The student was in a class I remember fondly. Next to his name is the year 2010-2011. Oh, where does the time go?
Suddenly, the book seems to have a vibration of its own, and I can feel its age. It almost seems like I can feel the newness of the book and then the newness fades as I stand there. Student faces pass in my mind. I see the face of the student I recognized and he is smiling. Words and images go through my mind like the flipping of pages. I see a girl with this book sitting at a kitchen table. I watch as I see another boy throw this same book to his friend in the hallway. I place the book back on the table and step away. Were these images real or imagined? I have no way to tell, no way to even begin validating these thoughts.
There have been times that I have focused on an object and felt things. When I visited the Titanic exhibit, I focused in on a candle holder that was salvaged from the wreck. I was shocked to find that it still felt new. It did not seem to realize that it spent much of its time on this earth at the bottom of an ocean. Its vibe was if it was just removed from its box. It was almost like the object had an emotion, but this was entirely different. Was I seeing the life of this book? Why this book? I picked up many books that day. The other strange thing is that I usually have to make myself available to these types of things, but this invaded my consiciouness like a movie that was going to play on its own accord.
I guess this is another new aspect to this gift, but I must be honest. I shiver to recall it.