Woman Was a Reader
By Sari Edelstein
the public library, I saw a
woman who looked exactly like
my mother, or how my mother looked about fifteen years ago. Except my
would never have been in a public library fifteen years ago and
certainly not today.
She is not much of a reader, and when she does read, she'll buy the
bestseller in hardcover and let it sit on her nightstand for weeks, a
pedestal for her Klonopin and glass of water. She is more likely to be
thumbing through Architectural
Digest or watching reruns of
TV shows from the early 90s. She can't fall asleep without the
The low drone of the laugh track a soothing kind of ambient noise
glow of the screen, and the Klonopin, gently lulling her into slumber.
This woman in the library was like my mother, had my mother grown up
a major city in a home with a yard and a maybe an older brother. This
a reader and a free spirit. She looked like the kind of woman who had a
at home, a faithful dog that gave her sloppy kisses and wagged its tail
front hall. Oh, yes, certainly, she had a front hall and maybe even one
of those organization stations that
they sell at Pottery Barn, with the coat hooks and the mail tray and
box for your keys.
This woman was my mother, had my mother played high school volleyball
or become a teacher or married her college sweetheart, never had a
took diet pills, or did juice fasts, or chain-smoked at a health spa.
this woman, health was not about weight but a truly balanced life full
grains and soy milk and dark leafy greens. This was a woman who could
affectionate, a true communicator, someone who would write you letters
that expressed genuine sentiments rather than
serially reporting the events in her social calendar in a
rant. And when she listened to you practice the violin, she would
up from paying the bills or chopping an onion to tell you how
I watched her weave her way in and out of the non-fiction stacks. She
posture and good walking shoes. She seemed clear-eyed and focused, not
not the type of woman who changed the subject before the subject was
be changed. She was the sort who most certainly made eye contact and
bespoke a kind of emotional intelligence.
I ran into her on my way into the ladies' room. I tried to catch her
see if perhaps she recognized something in me, some unnamable psychic
connection, but she was blotting her eyes and readjusting her glasses,
noticed that tucked underneath her arm was the library's copy
Self-Hate: A Personal Journey.