I have travelled and seen lots of things. I have been to places people only dream of, and conjure up in their minds, places that might exist, or should exist, or can’t exist. I have enjoyed the company of so many diverse people, creatures, animate and inanimate beings. I have been privy to all the world’s secrets, those which vanished and those which remained secret. I have seen all manners of killing, but also peace-making, and reconciliation, and then descents into violence and renewed hatred. I have been an observer to the world’s changes, confident progress and terrible faux-pas. I have seen the world nearly destroyed out of foolishness, but have also witnessed the noble human effort to build it up again. Yet all this time, I have remained silent. The suffering, the joy, the hatred, the love, all have passed me by, not unregistered, but without consequence.
For a bookmark, I am lucky. I never regret my fate, my incarnation, my predicament. I could have been born a blot of ink, condemned to immobility, slow, pitiless decomposition in the presence of light; or a paper page, enjoying a few moments of focused attention, only to be turned over in the end. I know I could have been worse-off, not even part of a book-binding, prey to the winds, unrooted and with a questionable future. There are days, however, when I think I could have fared better if only I had been born a cover, or a spine, or even a fore-edge. I can’t really complain about intimacy, as I’ll tell you more shortly, but the idea of almost constant handling and touching is irrepressible. Sometimes, moreover, I imagine what it must have been like if instead of a bookmark, I had come into this world as the page of the first chapter. Or of the last. To watch the spectacle of impatience, anticipation, satisfaction, relief or disappointment even, on the face of the reader. I often dream about it. There’s nothing I would have wanted more than to be in constant contact with my reader, to watch their eyes go up and down and sideways, stop, blink, grow weary. But as I said, I do not despise my condition. Like everything and everyone else, I was thrown into this world and, I can say with confidence, I think I made a good landing.
[to be continued]
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