I hate books.
That’s a lie. I don’t hate books. I love books. But I do hate how I feel when I finish reading a book.
I’ve read it a million times, on Instagram and Facebook and Goodreads, how readers are sad when a book ends, because the characters are no longer in their lives and they miss them. With every book I read, I keep waiting for this sensation that all the bookworms promise will come. But all I feel is emptiness. Sadness.
I felt it today. I felt it with Twilight however many years ago that was. Reality breaks on you — the one that reinforces the truth that your life will never be more than what it is now. It will never be more than work and school and dinner and your relationships and go to bed by 8 because you gotta be up at 4 to go to yoga.
It will never be more than sitting in an ice cream parlor’s parking lot with your two-scoop-sundae crying in your luxury car about this very thing. Have you ever started crying while you’re eating? I looked forward to this ice cream the whole day and once I had it it tasted like frozen salt made from broken dreams.
Reality hits you so hard sometimes that you wish someone would punch you in the face so you could feel something else. That moment you realize life as your parents’ promised it will never actually be your real life breaks you. You can fill it with art and fiction and travel and helping people by being a advocate for something important, but it’s never as wondrous as it was when you were a child.
It will never be Bella Swan or Blue Sargent or vampire love or ley lines, no matter how positive you set out to make each morning and how productive you set out to make each night.
White people problems, I guess.
Is this why people have children? To further fill the void while they tell the world they are contributing to society by extending their great name or are they actually contributing to society by extending their great name? I would like to think the people who raise good, responsible, kind little people are doing just that, but I don’t have children so I don’t know.
I once fancied myself as a mother of a brilliant little dark-haired boy, but my time to be a mother is nearly gone, swept away by paranoid schizophrenia and at least one regret, so it is unlikely that will ever happen. Probably for the best. My mother has bipolar disorder and there are two members of my extended family living with schizophrenia. Such genetics do not fare well for the next poor soul.
What is life is probably the existential question every novel hopes to address in fifty thousand words or less. I’ve read my fair share of such stories and still don’t have the answer. Is it love?
I’ve been in love, a few times. Once in particular that bore a resemblance to a modern telling of one of Jane Austen’s classic novels, so much that it’s never left me, but if that was the answer, finding love, why am I sitting in the Target parking lot crying much harder than I was in the first?
Why even ask myself these questions? If life is love, I’ve already had my share. Why live to be eighty if thirty years was all I needed?
If only I could go back to the last day of that love and end it there. But it’s not our choice when we live or die. That’s the fucked up thing about the whole answer, if there even is one. If we decide during any one day that we feel like fiction, there is no red button to terminate the chapter. The book. The life.
Maybe life is all of these things. Art and fiction and dinner and sleep and yoga and children and love and ice cream and Target. Maybe it’s what you make of it. Maybe it’s about how people remember you, or how they don’t. Maybe the purpose of life is to not have any purpose at all.
I don’t know. But what I do know is that books suck, and I hate them.