Constant Companion

Prompt: describe a ruin

The book was in tatters. Its pages were crinkled – akin to the skin of an old crone in a cottage in a wood. The book had taken one or two swims in Lake Peabrook. The soft cardboard cover had the carcasses of dead flies and mosquitos smashed and spotted on its back. The spine was fractured in parallel divisions, obscuring the remaining flakes of its title. The front had two nail varnish dribbles, one sapphire blue in the right corner and one blood red in the center, both of which clashed terribly against the sun-paled green of the book.

The dust jacket, of course, was a long-forgotten memory, an article of clothing discarded onto the floor soon after it was purchased. The interior of the book was not looking much better. The pages were bent at odd angles, dog-eared over and over so that every page had matching battle scars. The front and back blank pages had been torn out for use as scrap paper two years ago during a desperate moment of inspiration on the bus. At least a dozen receipts for coffee and groceries lived between the pages, along with scraps of long-postponed to-do lists.

And yet, despite this trauma, the book still lived. Its words remained readable and, although it no longer had fancy gold leaf on its spine and was no longer clad in the deep green of a rainy summer, it was still a constant devoted companion. It did not complain at the hardships of its life as it was tossed, slammed, grabbed, groped, and smushed between various purses and backpacks, couches and beds, as long as, at least once a day, she stopped to flip open its cover, move across its words, and smile.

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