The problem with being a reader is you don’t just read black text against white paper. You read gestures and body language. You read characters and choice of words. You read what is being said and what is not being said. The silence between the words carry on as much weight as the words themselves, and the interpretations of dialogue…they can be pretty endless. Three tiny words with one syllable each may carry fifteen different meanings, and the thing is, you can’t help but think of the negative meanings and those may give your self-esteem a blow especially if it has a history to reinforce it.

The problem with being a reader is that you tend to link random objects. Specific words get linked with real memories. You tend to view objects differently especially when they are used as symbols. So that the rabbit and the watch are no longer independent entities but connected together with Alice in a place called Wonderland.

So it comes as no surprise that one day I am reading, and the words tell me that a character crumples paper. Nothing big. Just a small motion. Crumpling paper. But I froze. Because a memory escaped from wherever it was locked up and rushed to the front of my mind; a friend who used to playfully throw crumpled paper at me sometimes. A friend who had passed away.

The problem with being a reader is that you can’t always read. The words, they blur, and no matter how many times you pass your eyes over them, your mind can’t seem to register what they mean. Maybe it’s because a few words earlier, something – an idea, a character, a gesture – resonates with you at so deep a level that you can’t help but escape your special form of escapism and re-enter your mind, explore your own memories, and maybe learn a little bit more about yourself.

And maybe, in the process of discovering more about yourself, you might need to stop trying to read and finally close the book.

First published at