While I was downloading John Irving’s new novel In One Person to my Nook, I was thinking of all the copies of The World According to Garp that I’ve owned. For years, every time I bought the novel, someone borrowed it and never gave it back.
Then there was the mistreated copy. When Lynne and I lived together in what I always call “that house on Francis,” I was sound asleep one night, no doubt dreaming of where I could get a fourth job (I had three–times were hard!). Suddenly Lynne stomped through the hall from her bedroom, flung open my door, and hurled The World According to Garp at me while shrieking, “YOU DIDN’T TELL ME [name of character redacted] DIED! I HATE THIS BOOK!” While I struggled to remember who she was and what she was talking about, she retrieved the book, marched back to her room, and continued to read.
I was looking for photos of “that house on Francis,” but all of them have people in them who we either don’t know anymore and who might not like ancient photos of themselves splashed over the Internet, or include an ex-boyfriend of mine who never gets real estate on this blog. However, I did find this photo taken in the dining room. It’s crappy-blurry and has blue scratches on it, but it’s Riley and me.
I’m sitting behind my typewriter because he always brought his poems and stories to me for editing and typing. And he’s probably reading my poems and telling me how to make them better. Actually, he’s flicking my very expensive tabletop crystal cigarette lighter and probably threatening to burn my bad poetry.
What I wouldn’t give to sit at a table and argue about writing with him again.
However, Lynne, we can skip reenacting that whole book-hurling thing. E-readers are pricier than paperbacks.