Book Club Dream

 

I walk down to the shore from the sandy, splintery staircase that leads off of the fishing pier, into a classroom filled with elementary styled pupil desks.  It is a very full room, though I can’t see the faces of any of the people in there except for two.  This is a book club meeting, but it feels like a college classroom with desks that are too small and restricting.  All of the students sit facing the front of the classroom, where the facilitator, who is my 4th grade math teacher from 1970-something, is perched atop her teacher’s desk, facing the students.  I am in the room, but I am not.  I am just hanging out, observing the class from the side.  The work for the day in this book club is to either share some books that are your favorites, or to elaborate on your hopes for the novel we are 1/3 of the way through at this time.  The facilitator calls on students one by one, but only with motion, not by name.  In my right hand is the novel we are reading, held open by my thumb to the exact 1/3 split. Without being motioned to, I speak up and say, “I want to express my hopes for this novel.  I hope that I come to love the female antagonist.  I mean, we are only 1/3 of the way through, and though the author is working hard to make me believe she is a bad, bad person, I am hopeful that there is a twist in the story that leads me to like her.  I really want to like her.”  And then I see my son.  He is sitting in the very center front of the room, right in front of the facilitator.  He looks my way, and I recognize those twinkling eyes and that sweet, sweet smile.  He holds up two books, a smaller one atop a larger one, and I recognize them immediately.  The book on top is Love You Forever.  It’s a square-ish book, light blue, with the familiar fictional boy on front.  I really like that book and immediately think of the tune I used to sing when I read the book  the to my children when they were little:  “I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, as long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be.”  That’s a nice book.  My son motions for me to recieve the books he brought.  His favorites.  Sharing with me!  I slide the top book aside and realize that the second book is a colorful ABC book.  It’s a well-loved, well-used book, all about letters.  My son is just beautiful. Healthy.  Happy.  My heart is filled to the brim.

Class is over.  Every faceless student leaves, and the one student with a face I love so much leaves, too.  I am packing my bags. I have a lot of bags.  A lot of stuff.  I heave one onto my shoulder while I organize another.  I am clinging those two gifted books in the crook of my left arm while doing so.  The facilitator says to me, “I don’t want to put too much on you, are you sure you can handle this?”  And I say to her, “I have to let you in on a secret.  That young man who gave me these books?  He is my son.  And I haven’t seen him in a very, very long time.  I can handle this book club.  Carrying all these bags with all my stuff is a small price to pay for what I just got out of this class.”  At this, the teacher stands up from where she was leaning, and I say, “Oh my word!  You are tall!  Gosh, how tall are you?”  And she says, from way above me, “Eleven foot, ten.”

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