today. late afternoon. i went to a bookstore. i love bookstores. but i especially love used bookstores. i love them because they smell like... books. and that is an intoxicating smell for me. more intoxicating than the dearest perfume. so. i walked about the store. in between the many shelves stacked from floor to ceiling with treasures. and i picked out what i wanted to my heart's delight. and then. i found myself a small piece of floor. sat myself down with my little gems. and began to sniff. sift. sliver. sip. and i made my final selections. took my six books up to the cash register. paid for them. carried them out to the back seat of my car. and drove home. the experience should've ended there. but it didn't.

i have the habit of penning the date and place of every new book i purchase into the front page. and so. this evening. i opened each cover gently. with reverence. and delight. book one. book two. and as i opened the cover for book three and prepared to pen my words, i found this:

November 23, 1995

Dear Daddy,
                   I hope you enjoy this book. I have not read it, but I've read two of Peter Hoeg's other works - and he is a truly remarkable writer.
                                         Much love,

and my stomach clenched. and my jaw hardened. and my first thought was: how insensitive of this "daddy" to give away a book his daughter had offered him as a gift. why would he do such a thing? but my next thought was: thank god i'm not megan.

a judgmental first thought. and a selfish second thought. yes. i know. but this is the type of judgmental thought and twisted gratitude that marks a lot of human existence. we are grateful for the gifts we have. but. often. we are more grateful for the curses we don't have. especially when we find those curses in another's life. and we see that those curses are alive and well. and we thank our lucky stars those curses have not found us. have somehow missed us. and attached themselves to another. drifting into an existence that is far away from us. and sparing us the burden of their existence in our existence.

i am thankful for having escaped one of megan's curses. but i am quite sure megan would be thankful for having escaped a few of mine.