This old book that my friend stole from high school. He had a penchant for stealing things; Catcher in the Rye (two copies), a nylon-string guitar, loot from old lockers. It was all fair game, as long as you could get it home unnoticed. But this old book; The Lord of the Flies.
I just spilt some tea on it, a liberal amount. Accidental of course, but probably the best damage that can be done to a book. Darkened marks bordering the pages, still slightly damp, but soon to dry out and harden; soon to resemble a crispen old map. A lucky strike for the book’s next holder.
Some previous reader has neatly highlighted a passage on page 15. Not my friend; the highlighting is far too perfect, and the passage far too insignificant. Likely a notation by a young scholar, in search of critiqueable technique. Perhaps a guidance from their teacher; “Now I shouldn’t be telling you this, but these lines may help for your exam.”
We would clear out old lockers for detentions; cut off the padlocks with rusty tools that made us feel like men. Inside was a mystery, sometimes empty with nothing, sometimes empty with something. Items that are masked with the enchanting allure of discovery, but soon reveal the reasons they were left behind.
That nylon string still plays well. I strum chords inevitably when I wait in my friend’s room, as he puts on his tennis socks and for a few minutes I savour the refreshment of playing a foreign guitar; it always feels nicer than yours.