From the corner of my eye, I could see the sun that slipped slowly through the blinds begin to bleed from a discolored off-white into an eggy yellow and wane further into a blood-red orange. However, I couldn’t turn my attention away from the words that populated my head. I was sucked into a literary flood of adventure and chose not to grab onto the raft that would drag me back to reality. Nothing else existed while I ventured deep inside the novel.
The book in question, Kafka on the Shore, by Haruki Murakami, was a strange tale of a teenage boy, Kafka Tamura, who was on the run, and Nakata, an older gentleman drawn to Kafka for reasons that no one can fathom. I read on as the characters’ paths converged well into the night while brightly lit stars danced and twirled outside my living room. I let the strange and interesting story take over and only noticed that the day had crossed onto the next when the cat woke up for her usual quick 100-meter dash around the room during witching hours.
This book had followed a host of classics that I hadn’t gotten to while attending college as an English major. There were even some stories that I had reread. Every moment I found myself noticing the time I would remember earlier days in my youth when I would stay up late and then get up early before school to read in my favorite armchair in the family room. I would click on the lamp that always sat between the couch and the chair and huddle under the source of illumination while anxiously turning pages of a captivating book.
There were also many times in my adulthood that I would sneak off during my lunch hour to sit under a nearby tree and read while munching on a sandwich. It was always so difficult to hold the book, turn the pages, and avoid staining the paper with condiments. My hands would ache while fanning the book open, and I would always hate being towards the beginning or the ending of a book because it wouldn’t sit balanced in my hand evenly.
When my travel time to work grew longer, I switched from paper books to audio ones and would let the talented voice actors read to me the entire way to the office. On some occasions, I would wish my commute was longer so that I could squeeze in another chapter and find out what was going to happen to the characters that I had spent so much time getting to know. I would want to rush to get to the conclusion out of curiosity. However, when the last of the story’s words were revealed to me, I would feel a small pang of sadness. It felt like the end of a relaxing vacation, moving away from a childhood friend, and finding out that you ate the late bowl of cereal the previous morning and that you have none to spare for your breakfast all rolled into one.
My obsession is a conundrum, leaving me in a constant state of rushing to the end and briefly grieving in a masochistic literature cycle. Because of this, I both hate and love reading, and wonder if book lovers, with their strong sense of imagination, suffer from a little bit of psychosis. Still, even pondering this, I take up another story to devour alongside a cup of tea as I sit under the rays of a towering floor lamp.